walkinginfo.org -> part of the pedestrian and bicycle information center
sitemap about us links join email list ask us a question
  search     go to bicyclinginfo.org
community problems and solutions design and engineering digital library education and enforcement health and fitness insight transit research and development rails and trails policy and planning pedestrian crashes news and events outreach and promotion
design and engineeringthe walking environment

the walking environment

roadway design

intersection treatments

traffic calming

traffic management

signals and signs

other measures

designing for pedestrians with

its technologies



Street furniture

Sidewalks should be continuous and be part of a system that provides access to goods, services, transit, and homes. Well designed walking environments are enhanced by urban design elements and street furniture such as benches, bus shelters, trash receptacles and water fountains.

Sidewalks and walkways should be kept clear of poles, sign posts, newspaper racks, and other obstacles that could block their paths or become a tripping hazard. Benches, water fountains, bicycle parking racks and other street furniture should be carefully placed to create an unobstructed path for pedestrians. Such areas must also be properly maintained and kept clear of debris, overgrown landscaping, tripping hazards, or areas in which water accumulates and causes problems for pedestrians.

Walking areas should also be interesting for pedestrians and provide a secure environment. Storefronts should exist at street levels and walking areas should be well lit and have good sight lines.

This is a good example of a street furniture zone along the sidewalk on Portland, Oregon's light rail transit line.

The material provided on this page is from the FHWA publication "Pedestrian Facilities User Guide." This guide is currently under review by practicioners and others in the field. Subsequently, the material provided on this page is subject to change in the future.

sidewalks or walkways

street furniture

curb ramps

marked crosswalks and enhancements

transit stop treatments

roadway lighting improvements

pedestrian overpasses / underpasses


• Enhance the pedestrian environment.

• Enliven commercial districts by fostering community life.


• Good-quality street furniture will show that the community values its public spaces and is more cost effective in the long run.

• Include plans for landscape irrigation and maintenance at the outset.

• Ensure proper placement of furniture; do not block pedestrian walkway or curb ramps.

Estimated Cost:

Varies depending on the type of furniture, the material out of which it is constructed, and the amount of plant material used.

© Copyright 2000  Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center