1. Does the footpath go the whole way, on both sides of the street, with no missing sections?
- It’s not always necessary to have footpaths on both sides of every street, as long as there is a safe and continuous path for people to get to where they want to go.
- Does the footpath suddenly stop? People will need to turn back, find another route, or cross the road, which may be dangerous. These kinds of problems will discourage people from walking in the area.
- What if there is a missing section in the footpath? Small gaps can make a whole area or route difficult for some people (eg. people in wheelchairs or pushing prams).
2. Are the footpaths non-slip, smooth, even and well maintained?
- Ideally, footpaths should be smooth and even, with no uneven or dangerous footpath surfaces that can cause people to fall and injure themselves.
- Sometimes tree roots can cause the footpath to become uneven, or rubbish or fallen leaves can make the footpath slippery.
It costs about $150/m2 to re-lay tarmac footpaths. It is also possible to ‘grind’ concrete edges or re-lay tarmac in small spots where it is uneven.
3. Are the footpaths wide enough for everyone to use? (e.g. someone in a wheelchair or with a pram or stroller?)
- Footpaths in busy areas should be at least 1.8m wide (wide enough to allow two people in wheelchairs to pass in opposite directions).
- In other areas, footpaths should be 1.5m wide if they aren’t shared with cyclists, and 2.5m wide if they are.
4. Is there anything blocking the footpaths (eg. parked cars or signs)?
- Are there parked cars, building materials, rubbish bins/skips, poles, or tables and signs outside cafés or shops that block footpaths?
Permanent obstacles are the most problematic, because they are the hardest to move. It is possible – although it might be expensive and time-consuming – to get badly placed street ‘furniture’ or poles moved.
Even temporary obstructions on the footpaths - parked cars, building materials, rubbish bins/skips, or tables and signage outside cafés or shops – can cause problems. However, these are generally easier and cheaper to move – although this may require some negotiation.