On-street parking can be both a benefit and a detriment to pedestrians. On-street parking does increase the “friction” along a street and can narrow the effective crossing width, both of which encourage slower speeds; parking can also provide a buffer between moving motor vehicle traffic and pedestrians along a sidewalk. In addition, businesses reliant on on-street parking are more geared to pedestrian access. This attention can foster a more vibrant pedestrian commercial environment.
On the other hand, parking creates a visual barrier between motor vehicle traffic and crossing pedestrians especially with children. Therefore, where there is parking, curb extensions should be built where pedestrians cross. Parking needs to be cleared on the approaches to crosswalks.
At least 20 feet of parking should be removed on the approach to a marked or unmarked crosswalk and about 20 feet of parking should be removed downstream from the crosswalk. Some agencies require that parking be cleared back 30 to 50 feet from intersections for pedestrian safety reasons. Well-designed curb extensions can reduce these distances and increase the number of on-street parking spaces.
On-street parking in Concord, MA shields pedestrians from moving traffic.