In the Planning and Urban DesignStandards (2007) book, the surface is described as the material that peoplewalk and wheel on inside the pedestrian environment.
The type of surfacematerial affects the ease and means over which people can traverse. In general,most sidewalk surfaces are asphalt or concrete and include bricks, stones and tiles.Firm surfaces are necessary to prevent deformation and movement of materials bythe force applied by pedestrians and wheelchair users.
Slip-resistant surfacesprevent sliding of pedestrians and helps increase walking and wheelchairsafety. The surfaces of the Sidewalkscontain the following design characteristics as prescribed by the Planning andUrban Design Standards: Grade: The grade is the slope that is corresponding to the travelleddirection on the sidewalk and is calculated by dividing the vertical change inelevation by the horizontal distance covered. The change rate in grades aremeasured using 61 centimeter intervals. Width: Sidewalk widths are an important design element and effectpedestrian usability and access type. The specified requirements for sidewalkwidths are named as “Design Width” and extend from the curb or planting striptowards the buildings placed on the opposite side. Pedestrians require adequatesidewalk widths in order to be separated from the mixed traffic on the other sideas well as clear distances from street furniture and other pedestrians with theedges containing bus shelters and signs and utility poles. The distances thatpedestrians avoid to travel in are called ‘Shy Distances’.
The space thatpedestrians feel comfortable travelling in is called ‘Effective Width’. ThePlanning and Urban Design Standards Book indicates that from a 3.05-metersidewalk, only 1.83meters are for effective width with the rest being shy distances.
These elements can beseen in figure (X). Passing Space: According to the ADAAG, Passing Space is described as a sectionof the pedestrian path that should be wide enough for people to pass 2wheelchairs past each other with comfortability and ease. The source explainedhow the passing space should be placed to allow 1 single wheelchair user to beable to turn a complete circle with the appropriate ease. Obstacle and Protruding Objects: Obstacles are defined as objects inside the pedestrian environmentthat can cause limitations for the passage space of pedestrians and reducewidth of sidewalks. The Planning and Urban Design Standards Book (2007)indicates that the pathways should be free from protruding objects as theseobstacles reduce the minimum required width and can cause serious walking andwheelchair barriers.
The following list describes the objects that can createbarriers for pedestrian travel if placed within the walking space: Awnings,Bike Racks, Mailboxes’, Plants, Vending Machines, Signage and Poles StreetFurniture, Street Sculptures, Shelters, Trash Bins, and Informally PlacedObjects. Curb Ramps: Are mostly places at intersections and crossings and are designedto decrease the grade and changes in level practiced by users. Curb rampscontain the following elements: Landing, Approach, Flare, Ramp and Gutter.Those elements can be seen in Figure (X). Curb ramps are necessary for the access ofpeople with impairments in movement. According to the ADAAG, curb ramps shouldbe 0.91 meters wide. Pervious Pavements: Thesepavements effectively delay, treat and help with infiltrating the storm waterrunoff in pedestrian spaces and surfaces.
They can be placed for sidewalks,furniture zones, cycling lanes and roadways. An example of a pervious pavementapplication can be seen illustrated on figure (X).