While you may not often think about your average, everyday sidewalk, it plays a very important role in urban environments. According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, a sidewalk provides benefits such as safety, mobility, and healthier communities. Additionally, sidewalks promote connectivity and physical activity.
A Verbal Blueprint of Sidewalk Zones
The sidewalk is a public area where people directly interact with each other and with street-facing businesses. Like other public areas, it is bound by unwritten rules, etiquette, and inherent organizational logic. In fact, sidewalks can be viewed both as a whole and through a set of zones with their own sense of order. These zones are the following:
The frontage zone is the area directly in front of a building or shop. It is a part of the sidewalk that effectively functions as an expansion of the building and includes the structure’s façade, outdoor seating areas, awnings, canopies, sandwich boards, marquees, and the like.
The frontage zone should be 18 inches wide to provide a comfortable distance for pedestrians and the façade of the structure. However, on commercial streets, this zone can stretch up to two feet to accommodate café tables and seats, as well as merchandise displays, benches, and greenery.
Pedestrian Through Zone
Also known as the throughway zone, the pedestrian zone is for pedestrians only. It is the primary pathway for people. To ensure that pedestrians have a safe, adequate, and accessible place to walk, this zone should be obstacle-free.
This zone should be five to seven feet wide in suburban areas and eight to twelve feet wide in commercial and urban areas.
Street Furniture and Curb Zone
This zone is the part of the sidewalk that is between the pedestrian through zone and the curb. It acts as a buffer between the pedestrian through zone and street traffic. Street furniture – such as street lights, utility posts, benches, kiosks, bicycle parking, fire hydrants, and trees – should be consolidated here.
The street furniture and curb zone is one that is meant for lingering instead of moving. It should have a width that is a minimum of three feet.
This is the zone where the sidewalk and the road meet. The edge zone is where people can access parked cars and thus, only exists on sidewalks that have adjacent parking lanes. It can house elements such as trees, utility poles, street lights, signage, and parking meters, so long as these elements have spaces between them that allow for the swinging of car doors.
The edge zone should have a walkable surface so that people can get in and out of their vehicles. It should be a minimum of two feet wide.
This zone extends into the parking lane. Some examples of this zone include curb extensions, stormwater features, landscaping, and bicycle parking, among other site furnishings.
Safe, accessible, and well-maintained sidewalks are fundamental investments for both cities and rural areas. If you are looking for concrete sidewalk pavers in Kansas City to ensure that a sidewalk remains level, turn to none other than K&E Flatwork LLC. We will make sure that your sidewalks are smooth and even, no matter what zone.
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