Term: Sidewalk

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Terminology and History of Sidewalks
– Sidewalk is preferred in most of North America.
– Pavement is more common in the United Kingdom and other members of the Commonwealth of Nations, as well as parts of the Mid-Atlantic United States.
– Many Commonwealth countries use the term footpath.
– In the United States, sidewalk is used for the pedestrian path beside a road.
– Walkway is a more comprehensive term that includes stairs, ramps, passageways, and related structures.
– Sidewalks have operated for at least 4,000 years.
– The Greek city of Corinth had sidewalks by the 4th-century BC.
– The Romans built sidewalks called ‘sēmitae.’
– Early attempts at ensuring the maintenance of sidewalks were often made, but not very effective.
– Following the Great Fire of London in 1666, attempts were made to bring order to the city.

Benefits and Transportation of Sidewalks
– Sidewalks aid road safety by minimizing interaction between pedestrians, horses, carriages, and automobiles.
– In town and city centers, sidewalks can occupy more than half of the width of the road or the whole road can be pedestrianized.
– Sidewalks may have a small effect on reducing vehicle miles traveled and carbon dioxide emissions.
– Research in Florida found that the installation of sidewalks resulted in a 74% reduction in crashes.
– The presence of a sidewalk has a strong beneficial effect on reducing the risk of pedestrian/motor vehicle crashes.
– Sidewalks provide a path for people to walk along without stepping on horse manure.
– Crosswalks provide pedestrians a space to cross between the two sides of the street.
– Sidewalks are more common in suburban and urban areas.
– In town and city centers, pedestrian traffic can exceed motorized traffic.
– Rural roads may not have sidewalks if the amount of traffic does not justify separating pedestrians and motorized vehicles.

Environmental Impact of Sidewalks
– Sidewalks may have a small effect on reducing vehicle miles traveled and carbon dioxide emissions.
– A study in Seattle found vehicle travel reductions of 6 to 8% and CO2 emission reductions of 1.3 to 2.2% due to sidewalk and transit investments.
– Sidewalks contribute to creating a more sustainable transportation system.
– By providing a safe and convenient walking infrastructure, sidewalks encourage walking as a mode of transportation.
– Increased walking and decreased reliance on motorized vehicles can lead to improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Health and Social Uses of Sidewalks
– Residents of neighborhoods with sidewalks have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and obesity.
– Walking to school improves children’s concentration.
– Sidewalks promote physical activity and reduce sedentary lifestyles.
– Regular walking on sidewalks can improve overall health and well-being.
– Sidewalks provide safe spaces for exercise and outdoor activities.
– Sidewalks can be used as social spaces for sidewalk cafés, markets, and busking musicians.
– Some sidewalks are used for parking cars, motorbikes, and bicycles.
– Sidewalks facilitate social interactions and community engagement.
– Sidewalks contribute to the vibrancy and liveliness of urban areas.

Construction and Future Trends of Sidewalks
Concrete is the most common material used for sidewalks in North America.
– Tarmac, asphalt, brick, stone, and rubber are commonly used in Europe.
– Different materials have varying environmental impacts.
– Meandering sidewalks are used to break up the monotony of city blocks.
– Multi-use paths alongside roads are often made of softer materials like asphalt.
– Wood sidewalks were common in 19th and early 20th century North America.
– Historic beach locations and conservation areas may still have wooden boardwalks.
– Wood sidewalks protect the land beneath and around them.
– Wood provides a unique aesthetic appeal to certain areas.
– Wooden sidewalks are part of the cultural heritage in some regions.
– Brick sidewalks are used for aesthetic purposes in urban areas.
– Brick hammers, rollers, and motorized vibrators are used to consolidate brick sidewalks.
– Some cities, like Cambridge, Massachusetts, have extensive brick sidewalks.
– Brick sidewalks can create a sense of charm and character in a neighborhood.
– The laying of brick sidewalks requires specific tessellation patterns.
– Smart sidewalks with embedded technology for data collection.
– Use of sustainable materials in sidewalk construction.
– Integration of green infrastructure, such as tree planting and rain gardens.
– Implementation of shared space concepts for pedestrians and vehicles.
– Adoption of flexible design approaches to accommodate changing needs.

Sidewalk (Wikipedia)

A sidewalk (North American English), pavement (British English), footpath in Australia, India, New Zealand and Ireland, or footway is a path along the side of a road. Usually constructed of concrete, pavers, brick, stone, or asphalt, it is designed for pedestrians. A sidewalk is normally higher than the roadway, and separated from it by a kerb (spelled "curb" in North America). There may also be a planted strip between the sidewalk and the roadway and between the roadway and the adjacent land.

Raised sidewalk beside a 2000-year-old paved road, Pompeii, Italy

In some places, the same term may also be used for a paved path, trail or footpath that is not next to a road, such as a path through a park.


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