NYC is a city of pedestrians who rely on an interconnected network of sidewalks and street crossings.
NYC DOT has developed a holistic, data-driven framework to identify pedestrian needs and provide design guidelines. The NYC Pedestrian Mobility Plan will inform how we design our sidewalks and streets. The plan builds upon existing safety and accessibility guidelines to account for pedestrian comfort and convenience. A more pleasant pedestrian space will encourage more walking trips, which benefits the city by reducing the demand for vehicles.
Pedestrian Use and Demand
The NYC Pedestrian Mobility Plan uses anticipated pedestrian volumes based on ‘pedestrian generators’ to designate five types of streets in NYC. Pedestrian generators include transit, businesses, schools, tourist attractions, and parks. The five categories include: Baseline Street, Community Connector, Neighborhood Corridor, Regional Corridor, and Global Corridor. Dive deeper into the methodology to categorize each street into one of these corridor types
- Streets that have low pedestrian volumes with infrequent passing
- Typically residential streets with no widespread pedestrian generators
- Makes up roughly 60% of city roads
- Streets that have individuals passing one another or small groups
- Residential streets that connect to nearby destinations such as small parks or schools
- Makes up about 25% of city roads
- Streets that have small groups of people passing each other
- Consistent pedestrian destinations, such as neighborhood business districts or large schools or parks
- Makes up roughly 12% of city roads
- Streets that have crowds of people passing each other
- Concentration of pedestrian destinations or large-scale attractions that draw people from around the region
- Makes up about 2.5% of city roads
- Streets that have large crowds of people moving in many directions
- High concentration of pedestrian destinations that draw people from around the world
- Comprises less than 0.5% of city roads
Pedestrian Demand Map
Every street in NYC is assigned one of the five corridor categories as shown on the Pedestrian Demand Map on NYC Open Data. This map does not reflect the existing physical accommodation of pedestrians.
Anatomy of a Sidewalk
Our sidewalks accommodate a variety of uses and amenities. Landscaping, cafes, and street furniture are an essential part of what makes a city attractive. But we need to make sure there is space for the comfortable movement of pedestrians.
There are three different zones that make up the sidewalk including: walk lane, clear path, and furnishing zone.
The portion of the sidewalk that accommodates pedestrian movement. This includes a clear path and can also include appropriately spaced amenities that allow for pedestrian activity between them.
The portion of the walk lane that is free from amenities for uninterrupted pedestrian flow.
The section of the sidewalk between the curb and walk lane that does not accommodate pedestrian movement. Amenities, such as lighting, benches, tree beds, utility poles, or bicycle parking, can be placed in this section.
NYC DOT has developed new design guidelines based on the functional needs of our sidewalks while focusing on improving the pedestrian experience. These guidelines are aspirational, not regulatory. However, they do include the existing regulatory requirements of revocable consents and ADA.
Current guidelines include sidewalk width and sidewalk amenity spacing, with more guidelines under development.
Please visit the Street Design Manual website for additional street design standards, guidelines, and policies.
Each corridor category has different needs for pedestrian space. The corridor’s need determines the desirable sidewalk widths and related walk lane and clear path widths. These widths account for and expand upon the existing revocable consent requirements.
The table below defines how much sidewalk space in feet (‘) is needed for walk lanes, clear path and furnishing zones.
|Corridor Category||Sidewalk Width||Furnishing Zone||Walk Lane||Clear Path|
|Baseline Street||8' +||3'||5'||4'|
|Community Connector||10' +||2'||8'||5'|
|Neighborhood Corridor||15' +||3'||12'||8'|
|Regional Corridor||20' +||5'||15'||12'|
|Global Corridor||25' +||5'||20'||15'|
Sidewalk Amenity Spacing
All corridors share amenity spacing guidelines to ensure pedestrians have enough space while navigating the sidewalk and passing other pedestrians.
|Furnishing Zone||Walk Lane||Clear Path|
|If objects in the furnishing zone do not impede upon the walk lane, they can be as close as individual guidelines indicate.||Objects in the walk lane should be no more than 10 feet wide, and at least 15 feet apart to allow sufficient space for pedestrians to pass each other.||Clear path must be free of objects but can shift as long as it is gradual and maintains the same diagonal clearance as the clear path requirements.|