NYC Pedestrian Mobility Plan

NYC is a city of pedestrians who rely on an interconnected network of sidewalks and street crossings to comfortably travel around our city.

NYC DOT developed a holistic, data-driven framework to identify pedestrian needs and provide design guidelines. The NYC Pedestrian Mobility Plan informs how we design our sidewalks and streets. This guidance 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.

Why a Pedestrian Mobility Plan? - Presentation to New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) in November 2023

Large number of pedestrians cross a street in Midtown Manhattan

Pedestrian Use and Demand

Corridor Categories

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

Graphic of a baseline street shows a narrow sidewalk with one pedestrian walking on it.

Baseline Street

  • Streets that have low pedestrian volumes with infrequent passing
  • Typically residential streets with no widespread pedestrian generators
  • Makes up roughly 60% of city roads
Graphic of a community connector shows a regular-width sidewalk with enough space for individuals to pass each other.

Community Connector

  • 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
Graphic of a neighborhood connector shows a wider sidewalk with enough room for groups of people to pass each other comfortably.

Neighborhood Corridor

  • 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
Graphic of regional corridor shows a wide sidewalk with a crowd of people passing each other.

Regional Corridor

  • 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
Graphic of a regional corridor shows an extremely wide sidewalk with large crowds moving in different directions.

Global Corridor

  • 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.

Walk Lane

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.

Clear Path

The portion of the walk lane that is free from amenities for uninterrupted pedestrian flow.

Furnishing Zone

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.

A sidewalk with a colored overlay showing the different zones: furnishing zone, walk lane, and clear path.

Design Guidelines

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.

Sidewalk Width

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.

A sidewalk with a colored overlay showing the different zones: furnishing zone, walk lane, and clear path.
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.

Rendering of a sidewalk with a color overlay showing the furnishing zone, walk lane, and clear path.
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.