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by Gina Hilberry, AIA; Cohen Hilberry Architects; Elizabeth Hilton, PE, TxDOT; William Prosser, FHWA; Lukas Franck, The Seeing Eye

Introduction

The purpose of this section is to illustrate the basic elements comprising the public right-of-way and look at the sidewalk environment as a whole. To effectively design and/or alter the public right-of-way, the components must be analyzed in relationship to each other. The inter-relationships of existing slopes and objects, vehicular demands, timing requirements, and pedestrian needs can create a challengingt design context.

Sketch shows division of sidewalk into zones.
 

This illustration from “Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access” shows the divisons of sidewalk width by function—furnishings zone, pedestrian zone, and frontage zone.

 

In many jurisdictions, the right-of-way is divided into four zones: the frontage zone, the pedestrian zone, the furnishing zone, and the curb zone. The frontage zone is the strip along the inside (non-vehicular) edge and is frequently the location for signage, building-related construction (e.g. ramps, walls, and entries) and other pedestrian amenities. The pedestrian zone includes the PAR as described below. The furnishing zone is adjacent to the curb line and is the location most frequently used for bus stops, parking meters, utility connections, light poles, and similar appurtenances. The curb zone is literally the top of the curb.

Understanding the terminology and the requirements that relate to each of the major components of the pedestrian environment is the first step toward development of a successful design system that addresses the public right-of-way as a whole. The components that are illustrated in this chapter include:

Parallel curb ramps have the running slope parallel to the curb line.

Sketch of perpendicular curb ramp

Perpendicular curb ramps have the running slope perpendicular to the curb line.

Sketch of a blended transition

Blended transitions are situations where either the entire sidewalk has been brought down to the street or crosswalk level or the street has been brought up to the sidewalk level.

Combinations of these types of ramps can be used effectively. For additional examples of the shapes and combinations, see Chapter 6, Curb Ramp Examples. The models that are presented in this chapter begin with an illustration of a nearly ideal 15- to 20-foot-wide sidewalk section in an urban area. The width of the right-of-way permits easy development of a five-foot-wide PAR with plenty of area left for bus stops, outdoor furnishings, tree areas, accessible parking, utility poles, hydrants, and other elements. The width of the PAR is constrained in each succeeding model illustrating typical relationships of the same elements in 12-foot, 8-foot, and 4- to 5-foot-wide pedestrian zone conditions. All sidewalks are measured from the back of the curb to the edge of the right-of-way. These illustrations are not intended to be an exhaustive analysis of all possible solutions to the problem posed by narrow right-of-way conditions, but rather to begin the process of suggesting

alternates and methods for prioritizing improvements.

Case Study—Wayfinding at Roundabouts

Case Study: Two different photo views of a new roundabout showing pedestrian crossings with dark grey detectable warnings and brick sidewalks.
 
Case Study: Two different photo views of a new roundabout showing pedestrian crossings with dark grey detectable warnings and brick sidewalks.
 
     

Case Study—Parallel Curb Ramps and Road Grade

MODEL SIDEWALKS

15- to 20-foot Curb to Right-of-Way Line

CAD drawing showing pedestrian features that can be accommodated on a wide sidewalk (15-20 feet)

1. PAR (Pedestrian Access Route)

2. Utility Pole/Street Light

3. Utility Meter/Underground Vault/Manhole

4. Hatch (At-grade Access Door for Deliveries and Access to Building)

5. Fire Hydrant

6. Accessible Parallel Parking

7. Parking Meter for Accessible Space

8. Clear Approach Area

9. Curb Ramp

10. Driveway

11. Tree

12. Bus Stop and Shelter

13. Landscaping

14. Sidewalk Furnishings, Trash Receptacle, and Similar Items

15. Telephone

16. Bike Rack

MODEL SIDEWALKS

12-foot Curb to Right-of-Way Line

CAD drawing showing pedestrian features that can be accommodated on a wide sidewalk (12 feet)

1. PAR (Pedestrian Access Route)

2. Utility Pole/Street Light

3. Utility Meter/Underground Vault/Manhole

4. Hatch (At-grade Access Door for Deliveries and Access to Building)

5. Fire Hydrant

6. Accessible Parallel Parking

7. Parking Meter for Accessible Space

8. Clear Approach Area

9. Curb Ramp

10. Driveway

11. Tree

12. Bus Stop and Shelter

13. Landscaping

14. Sidewalk Furnishings, Trash Receptacle, and Similar Items

15. Telephone

16. Bike Rack

MODEL SIDEWALKS

8- to 9-foot Curb to Right-of-Way Line

CAD drawing showing pedestrian features that can be accommodated on a wide sidewalk (8-9 feet)

1. PAR (Pedestrian Access Route)

2. Utility Pole/Street Light

3. Utility Meter/Underground Vault/Manhole

4. Hatch (At-grade Access Door for Deliveries and Access to Building)

5. Fire Hydrant

6. Accessible Parallel Parking

7. Parking Meter for Accessible Space

8. Clear Approach Area

9. Curb Ramp

10. Driveway

11. Tree

12. Bus Stop (No Shelter)

13. Landscaping

14. Sidewalk Furnishings, Trash Receptacle, and Similar Items

15. Telephone

Items Not Accommodated at this Width:

16. Bike Rack

MODEL SIDEWALKS

4- to 5-foot Curb to Right-of-Way Line

CAD drawing showing pedestrian features that can be accommodated on a wide sidewalk (4-5 feet)

1. PAR (Pedestrian Access Route)

2. Utility Pole/Street Light

3. Utility Meter/Underground Vault/Manhole

4. Hatch (At-grade Access Door for Deliveries and Access to Building)

5. Fire Hydrant

6. Accessible Parallel Parking

7. Parking Meter for Accessible Space

8. Clear Approach Area

9. Curb Ramp

10. Driveway

11. Tree

Items Not Accommodated at this Width:

12. Bus Stop

13. Landscaping

14. Sidewalk Furnishings, Trash Receptacle, and Similar Items

15. Telephone

16. Bike Rack