One of the key components of a walkable neighborhood is the sidewalk—the roadway for pedestrians. Characteristics of good sidewalks include:

  • Two women walk down an urban sidewalk in Hudson, Ohio.They are continuous—there are no gaps in the sidewalk network.
  • They are installed on both sides of a street; while a sidewalk on one side of the street is certainly better than no sidewalk at all, this does not mean that a sidewalk should not exist on both sides of the street.
  • They are separated from moving traffic. A planting strip is a common buffer, and if wide enough can include street trees. Parked cars or on-street bike lanes also provide separation of pedestrians from traffic.
  • They are wide enough to comfortably accommodate at least two adults walking side by side, and are clear of obstructions both horizontally and vertically; this includes overgrowth, parked vehicles, and garbage or recycle containers.
  • They are well maintained and free of cracks or lifted sections that could become tripping hazards and barriers to people in wheelchairs.

For more detailed information, see the Facility Design section about sidewalks and walkways.

Learn more:

Making the case for new sidewalks

Problems or obstructions on existing sidewalks