Sidewalks provide pedestrians with a safe walking passage. They separate pedestrians from the vehicle traffic on the roads. Hence, they play an important role in our public street system.
Sidewalks are used by people, bicycles, pets, skateboards and roller blades, to name a few, so they need to be strong, sturdy and durable to withstand high usage.
Sidewalks are made using various materials, including all types of pavers. There is of course the right type of paver for the particular sidewalk site. Some areas will need a more heavy-duty type of paver than would other areas.
Often brick or concrete pavers are used for sidewalk paving.
There are three main design elements to consider when planning a sidewalk. These elements are; width, surface and separation from vehicle traffic.
The width of a sidewalk depends on the needs of the area. In areas that would be classified as low density, like small homed neighborhoods, the average sidewalk width is about 4 foot.
Concrete & Pavers
In areas that would be classified as medium density, sites that contain mostly unit blocks and complexes, the average width of a sidewalk would be about 6 foot.
An area which consists of housing, complexes and commercial dwellings, would class as a high density area, and would require about 10 foot sidewalks.
The most common type of sidewalk material seems to be concrete slabs and concrete pavers, and sometimes a mixture of the two. Concrete is popular due to its smooth and durable textured surface.
Concrete pavers are becoming widely applied to sidewalks because they have a more attractive appeal to them, than does plain concrete slabs.
To achieve an aesthetic looking sidewalk, with a smooth and durable surface, often a mixture of concrete slabs and concrete pavers are used. A concrete slab is poured in the middle walking area, and concrete pavers along the edges, creating an appealing sidewalk.
Separation from Vehicle Traffic
Sidewalks are often designed with an added strip of area between the road and the actual paved sidewalk. These strips separate pedestrians even further from road traffic. This area usually about 2 to 4 foot wide in residential areas, contains trees and other planted vegetation.
In commercial areas this strip can be between 4 and 6 feet wide, also containing plants and trees. These strips provide added safety for pedestrians when using sidewalks, in high traffic areas.