Creating Safe and Comfortable Sidewalks

Simply providing sidewalks is often inadequate in areas where transit is a critical aspect of local mobility. In order to remove barriers to transit use, the pedestrian environment must be carefully designed to provide buffering from vehicular traffic and accommodate a variety of users.

Landscape Zone

The landscape zone includes the portion of the right-of-way between the sidewalk and the curb. It may consist of a planted parkway or hardscaped furniture zone, depending on surrounding uses and the type of character being sought. The landscape zone should be a minimum of 5’, and may be wider in order to accommodate streetscape elements, furniture, or sidewalk uses (i.e. café seating or outdoor displays.) This zone should be used to accommodate planters, lighting, historic or informational signage, gateways, benches, bicycle racks, trash receptacles, trees, utility boxes, parking meters, etc.

Pedestrian Zone

The pedestrian zone is the primary area of movement on the sidewalk. It should be a minimum of 5’ wide. In downtown areas, or in other areas of intensive pedestrian activity, the pedestrian zone should be 8-10’ wide. It should use materials that are smooth and contain no significant variations in height, and should meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act in terms of texture, clearance and maintenance.

On-Street Parking

Areas of significant transit activity often benefit from on-street parking that serve nearby uses. On-street parking also provides a buffer between the roadway and public sidewalk. This form of parking should be encouraged on prominent transit corridors and should be configured to safely accommodate bus transit stops. Parking spaces are typically either parallel or diagonal. Diagonal spaces typically include tire stops or some other physical barrier to ensure vehicles do not encroach upon the landscape or pedestrian zones.

Transit Access

The public sidewalk should fully connect designated transit stops. When necessary, segments between the sidewalk and shelter pad should be provided. Accessibility for all people is important for sidewalk design.

Additional space should be provided in order to safely accommodate transit stop amenities, such as trash receptacles, bike racks, newspaper boxes, etc. that are above and beyond standard transit stop amenities provided by Pace.

Creating Safe and Comfortable Sidewalks Implementation Checklist

Guideline PrinciplesImplementation Tools
Provide on-street parkingLocal public works/engineering standards, D.O.T standards
Connect transit stops to the sidewalk networkLocal subdivision regulations, local public works/engineering standards, D.O.T standards