General Information on Distinctive Sidewalks

Except in those areas where historic materials, such as cobblestone, bluestone, or granite slabs, remain and can be maintained or replicated, the Public Design Commission supports the use of standard grey concrete with simulated saw-cut joints in a 5 x 5 scoring pattern as specified by the Department of Transportation. In historic neighborhoods, the Commission supports concrete tinted to approximate bluestone or granite.

As city sidewalks are public space, the Commission strongly discourages the installation of logos, building numbers, building addresses, 'carpet treatments' at building entrances, or other sidewalk treatments that visually disrupt the continuity and public character of the streetscape.  Non-standard sidewalk treatments may be considered in conditions where the entire block is uniformly treated or the sidewalk design is integral to the design of adjacent open plaza space.

Strategies that seek to improve and upgrade the City's streetscape and are encouraged by the Commission include:

  • planting street trees, and specifically as an alternative to planters;
  • using tree pits that are as large as possible, given the specific site conditions, per the Department of Parks & Recreation's Tree Planting Guidelines;
  • using amenity strips that incorporate continuous, structural soil trenches and permeable unit pavers to enhance the life and health of street trees;
  • installing granite curbs instead of steel-faced or concrete curbs; and
  • using pre-cast concrete detectable warning pavers, which are more durable than plastic.