Street Design Manual
Latest Manual Update: July 9, 2010
About the Manual
The New York City Street Design Manual provides policies and design guidelines to city agencies, design professionals, private developers and community groups for the improvement of streets and sidewalks throughout the five boroughs. It is intended to serve as a comprehensive resource for promoting higher quality street designs and more efficient project implementation.
First released in May of 2009, the Manual is the product of an inter-agency Task Force headed by the Department of Transportation and joined by the Departments of Design and Construction (DDC), City Planning (DCP), Environmental Protection (DEP), Parks and Recreation (DPR), Buildings (DOB), the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), the Design Commission (DC) and the Mayor's Office.
The Manual builds on the experience of innovation in street design, materials and lighting that has developed around the world, emphasizing a balanced approach that gives equal weight to transportation, community and environmental goals. It is designed to be a flexible document that will change and grow, incorporating new treatments as appropriate after testing. The use and continued development of the Street Design Manual will assure that New York City remains a leading innovator in the public realm as it becomes a greater, greener city.
Download or Purchase the Manual
The Street Design Manual is available for download as a PDF, either as one complete document or in individual sections. Save paper, all files are formatted to be printed double-sided. Download the entire manual (High Resolution: 192 MB pdf) Download the entire manual (Low Resolution: 11.1 MB pdf) Printed copies of the Manual are available for purchase from CityStore.
Download individual chapters at print resolution:
- Cover and front matter (3 MB pdf) - Forewords, table of contents, acknowledgements, introduction & Street Design Policy
- Chapter 1: Using the Manual (172 MB pdf) - Guidelines for incorporating the Manual into the design process.
- Chapter 2: Geometry (7.7 MB pdf) - A "toolbox" of geometric street treatments to enhance safety, mobility and sustainability.
- Chapter 3: Materials (5.9 MB pdf) - Specific materials with recommendations for use, and references to appropriate specifications.
- Chapter 4: Lighting (2.7 MB pdf) - Street and pedestrian lights that meet energy-efficiency, technical and visual quality criteria.
- Chapter 5: Furniture (1 MB pdf) - Freestanding elements that are part of DOT's coordinated street furniture franchise and site furnishings used by other agencies.
Glossary & Appendices (200 KB pdf)
- Appendix A: Street Design Cover Sheet
- Appendix B: Agency Roles on the City's Streets
- Appendix C: Legal & Design Guidance References
- Appendix D: DOT Design Review Process
Addenda & Updates
The Street Design Manual by its very nature is a work in progress - its information and guidance will be refined based on evolving best practices and real-world experience with its usage in New York City. Specific treatments may be added, updated or removed, as appropriate, over time.
Therefore, DOT will issue occasional updates and addenda to the Manual. As changes are made, revised chapters will be posted on this website above and revised pages will be posted below to allow users to print and insert them into their hard copies.
First full release: May 20, 2009
Most recent update: July 9, 2010.
Substantive changes are listed below – minor changes, such as spelling corrections, are not listed. Download all of the changed pages (24.3 MB).
Chapter 1: Using the Manual
p 34— Replaced tables and chairs with benches in illustration
Chapter 2: Geometry
p 46— Under "Design Vehicles & Emergency Access": Changed "All street designs must meet FDNY and other emergency vehicle access requirements and must consider sanitation vehicle needs (street cleaning and snow clearing)" to "All street designs must consider FDNY, other emergency vehicle, and sanitation vehicle access needs (street cleaning and snow clearing)"
Under "Roadway Width, Curb Radii & Crossing Distance": Added "Roadway reconstructions should be designed for traffic volumes expected in the actual build year. Additional consideration should be given to trends in demand for all surface modes, as documented in NYC DOT's Sustainable Streets Index"
p 51— Under "Bike Lane": "Addition of on-roadway bike lanes can also calm traffic speeds when used to narrow or replace travel lanes" changed to "Addition of on-roadway bike lanes that narrows or replaces motor vehicle travel lanes can calm traffic"
p 56— Under "Bus Lanes & Busways Design": location of bus lanes and busways as "adjacent changed to the righthand parking lane" rather than "in the second lane from the curb"
p 59— Under "Considerations": "May require loss of curbside parking" changed to "May require loss of on-street parking"
p 81— Bottom Photo Caption: attribution corrected
p 94— Under "Design": Added "The New York City Zoning Resolution requires that one tree be provided for every 25 feet of curb frontage for new developments and major alterations"
Chapter 3: Materials
p 108— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications sections 2.05, 3.01, 4.01, 4.02
Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Details drawing H-1034
p 112— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications sections 3.05, 4.05
p 112— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Details drawing from H-1005 to H-1005, H-1005A
p 117— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications section 6.04
p 120— Under "Design": Changed NYC DOT Standard Specifications sections 2.02, 2.15, 2.22, 3.05, 4.13
p 121— Under "Application": Added that tinted concrete is required in historic districts
Under "Design in Commercial Districts": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications section 4.13C
p 122— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications section 4.13 E, item numbers 4.13 EAGG (for four–inch sidewalk), 4.13 EBGG (for seven–inch sidewalk)
p 123— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications section 4.13
p 124— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications section 4.13ES, Item Nos. 4.13 ESA (for four–inch sidewalk), 4.13 ESB (for seven–inch sidewalk)
p 126— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications section 6.06 LP
p 128— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications sections 3.04, 6.60
p 130— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications section 6.04
p 133— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications sections 2.06, 6.06
p 134— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications section 6.06
p 135— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications section 6.06A
p 136— Under "Design": Changed 6.60 SP to 6.6
p 137— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications section 4.13 EG, item numbers 4.13 EGA (for four–inch sidewalk), 4.13 EGB (for seven–inch sidewalk)
p 139— Under "Design": Changed specifications source to NYC DOT Standard Specifications sections 2.13, 3.05, 4.09
Chapter 4: Lighting
p 149— Deleted LED Type L, LED Type A, pedestrian LED Type A, and pedestrian and LED Type E; replaced with "Blank"
p 150— Made various corrections and clarifications in Tables 4.1 and 4.2
p 152— Under "Spacing/Typical": Changed ratio from 2:1 to 1/2:1
Under "Full cutoff": Delete "…and provide the greatest glare reduction"
Under "Cutoff": Delete "…and provide some glare reduction"
Under "Semi cutoff": Delete "…and provide less glare reduction"
p 156— Deleted caption to the illustration about there being 6-, 8-, or 12-foot arms for the Davit pole, which comes only with an 8-foot arm
p 157— Under "Lamping/Optics": Changed "Medium Semi-Cutoff" to "Semi-Cutoff"
Under "Cost Compared to SLP": Changed $$$ to $$$$
p 158— Replaced Cobra Head luminaires with Stad luminaires in all illustrations
Changed two measurement of the Round and Octagonal poles from 25 feet to 30 feet
Corrected arm lengths on the bottom illustrations of the Flatbush Avenue, TBTA, and WM poles
Changed measurements in the illustrations of the TBTA and WM pole from 30' height to 27'; corrected relative heights
p 159— Changed Fulton light to "Optional"
Under "Cost Compared to Standard Light": Changed $$$ to $$$$
p 160— Under "Lamping/Optics": Changed "Cutoff" to "Cutoff, or semi–cutoff"
Under "Cost Compared to SLP": Changed $$$$ to $$$$$
p 161— Under "Lamping/Optics": Changed "Flat glass and curved…" to "Curved"
Under "Cost Compared to SLP": Changed $$$ to $$$$$
p 162— Corrected illustrations of standard poles to show the Helm luminaire
Added illustration of TBTA pole with Helm luminaire
In illustrations: Changed heights of Round and Octagonal poles from 25′ 0″ to 30′ 0″
Corrected height of WM Pole from 25′ 0″ to 27′ 0″; made the pole proportionally correct in relation to the other poles
p 163— Under "Spacing/Typical": Changed "3/4:1" to "For Teardrop or Shaded Teardrop: 2/3:1; For Stad: 1:1; For Helm: 2/3:1"
Under "Lamping/Optics": Added "Shielded Teardrop: Cutoff, IES Type III or V (250W HPS)"
p 164— Changed TBTA Pole's usage from "Historic" to "Optional"
Under "Spacing/Typical": Changed "3/4:1" to "2/3:1"
p 165— Under heading: Deleted "Four-foot arm also available"
In illustrations: Changed TBTA arm lengths from 4′ 0″ to 8′ 0″
p 166— Changed height of Type M pole from 27′ 0″ to 27′ 7″ in illustration
p 168— Changed height of pole in illustration from 25′± to 26′ 3″
p 169— Removed Type L light, replaced with blank page; NYC DOT is no longer planning to pilot it
p 170— Inserted clarification about how the City Light is not yet available
p 171— Removed LED Type A, replaced with blank page
p 174— Corrected pole heights from 14′, 14′, and 14′ to 16′, 18′, and 18′, respectively; also corrected proportions
p 175— Under "Cost Compared to SLP": Changed $$ to $$$$
p 175— Corrected illustrations to show Stad luminaires on the three standar poles; corrected proportions
p 176— Under "Cost Compared to SLP": Changed $$$ to $$$$
Under "Spacing/Typical": Changed spacing from 1:1 to 3/4:1
p 179— Changed height of World's Fair pole from 12′ 6″ to 12′ 0″ in illustration
p 180— Changed TBTA pole from "Historic" to "Optional"
In illustrations of the pedestrian TBTA pole: Changed "(A Version)" to "(B Version)"
p 183— Removed LED Type A, replaced with blank page
p 184— Removed LED Type E pedestrian light, replaced with blank page
Glossary & Appendices
p 201— New entry for "Bioswale"
p 206— New entry for "Rain Garden"
Sidewalk Standards for Commercial Districts
As of 2010, sidewalks in certain commercial districts must be constructed of tinted concrete. This rule covers commercial districts zoned C4-4 through C4-7, C5 and C6 (see map on page 105 of the Manual). Any time at least half of the sidewalk abutting a property is replaced, tinted concrete must be used.
The standard, set forth in section 4.13 C of the NYC Standard Highway Specifications, consists of dark gray pigmented concrete with saw-cut joints and a broom finish. The specification also describes the color of the pigmenting [section 4.13.4 (H)] and the method for saw-cutting and broom finishing [section 4.13.4 (F) 2]. Property owners have the option of adding silicon carbide to the surface of the concrete. Find the zoning of a particular property. Readabout the sidewalk standards for commercial districts Download the Notice of Adoption of the new sidewalk standards (pdf) Download the sections of the DOT Standard Highway Specifications related to tinted concrete (pdf)
Usage & Applicability
The Street Design Manual should be used by agency staff, design professionals, community groups, and other entities involved in the planning and design of streets in New York City. The policies and guidelines in the Street Design Manual should be the foundation of designs for all projects that significantly impact public and private streets in New York City. DOT will review projects for consistency with the manual.
Examples of applicable projects include capital and non-capital projects, such as street reconstructions and resurfacings; operational and traffic control treatments; street work associated with new or renovated buildings; and other public or private construction projects that include roadways, sidewalks, and plazas.
The guidance presented in the Street Design Manual does not supersede any existing federal, state or city laws, rules, and regulations. All projects remain subject to relevant statutes, such as the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York, City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR), and appropriate reviews and approvals of oversight agencies such as the New York City Design Commission (DC), Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), and Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The Manual provides assistance in four major areas:
- Setting appropriate goals for each project
- Providing a framework for design decisions
- Establishing a clear and consistent design review process
- Serving as a central, comprehensive reference guide
In a city with as many varied and complex conditions as New York, designs must be tailored for the particular needs and opportunities created by the local context, uses, and dimensions of streets. Therefore, the Manual leaves ample room for choice, and all designs remain subject to case-by-case DOT approval based on established engineering standards and professional judgment, with the safety of all street users being of paramount importance.
Street Design Policy
At over a quarter of the city's land area, streets are a critical part of New York City's infrastructure. They provide the bulk of its public space and have wide-ranging impacts on both its environmental health and the quality of life of its neighborhoods. Accordingly, it is the policy of DOT that the goals and principles found within the Manual be adhered to when designing city streets. Click here to read the Street Design Policy (3.55 MB)
Resources & References
The following are "quick references" from the Manual that may be useful to planners, designers and other readers. Street Geometry Quick Reference table (3.57 MB) Street Materials Quick Reference table (113 KB) Street Lighting Quick Reference table (138 KB) Street Design Policy (3.54 MB)
This cover sheet can be attached to all street designs submitted to DOT for review or approval. Inclusion of the Cover Sheet allows DOT or other reviewing agencies to provide a more expeditious evaluation. Street Design Cover Sheet
Information regarding standard procedures and approval requirements for constructing streets and sidewalks is provided in the Instructions for Filing Plans and Guidelines for the Design of Sidewalks, Curbs, Roadways and Other Infrastructure Components.
Detailed information on the specifications, including standards for materials and construction details, are in the New York City Standard Highway Specifications, maintained by DDC.
For questions, comments and suggestions related to the New York City Street Design Manual, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.