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Width of Pavement

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WIDTH OF PAVEMENT. Itis wise to make the streets of residence districts of liberal width for sanitary and aesthetic reasons; and also because the future of the street can not be cer tainly foreseen,—the residence street may become a business street, or an unfrequented street a thoroughfare. However, it is not necessary that the whole width should be devoted to wheel ways and sidewalks, particularly in small cities. A grass plat between the sidewalk and the pavement, in which shade trees are set (§ 491), adds to the beauty of the street and to the comfort of the residents by removing the houses farther from the noise and dust of the pavement. The grass plat or parking also affords an excellent place in which to place water and gas pipes, telephone and electric-light conduits, etc. In large cities where the street front is built up solid with houses of several stories, it may be necessary to dispense with the grass plat, and to devote the entire street to sidewalks and roadway.

It is universally admitted that pavements are desirable; but often, owing to the unwillingness of at least some of the people to pay for them, it is difficult to secure them. Except for the cost, the wider the pavement the better; but length is more valuable than width. An excessive width is a needless expense, and delays or prevents the getting of any pavement at all; hence one help to ward securing pavements is to make the pavement only wide enough to accommodate the traffic. Not infrequently the pave ments of suburban and residence streets are needlessly wide. A narrow pavement not only costs less to construct, but also costs less to clean and sprinkle; while the cost of maintenance depends chiefly (or, with a pavement not subject to natural decay, wholly) upon the amount of traffic, and hence is nearly (or entirely) inde pendent of the width.

Without Car Track.

A width of 18 feet affords sufficient room for a vehicle to pass when another is standing on each side of the pavement—a rare occurrence ;—and therefore it appears that a pavement 18 feet wide is sufficient for the less frequented residence streets. The only objection to a very narrow pave ment is the difficulty of turning a team in such a street. The seriousness of this objection depends upon the construction of the vehicle. Many delivery wagons, express wagons, etc., may be turned on an 18-foot pavement. If occasionally a vehicle is compelled to go to the corner to turn, or even to drive around the block, the inconvenience is not very serious, and is so infrequent as not to justify any considerable expense to prevent it. A width of 20 to 24 feet is probably sufficient for a majority of residence and suburban streets. When a residence street is an artery of travel, it may be necessary to make the pavement wider than stated above. In a number of cities, there has been a marked tendency

in recent years to reduce the width of pavements on residence streets.

Thirty feet affords sufficient room for two vehicles to pass each other where two others are standing at the curb; and therefore this width of pavement is ample for business streets in small places. On a narrow business street it may be necessary to curtail the width of the pavement to prevent the sidewalk space from being unduly encroached upon.

In many of the cities the width of the pavement is uniformly a fractional part of the total width of the street, regardless of the needs of traffic. In many cities, both American and European, the pavement is three fifths or 60 per cent of the width of the street. In New York City and Brooklyn the rule seems to be to make the pavement half the width of the street. In Washington City there is no hard-and-fast rule, but the following is the usual relation: on streets 60 feet wide or less, the pavement is 25 feet or 40 per cent of the width of the street; on streets from 60 to 90 feet wide, the pavement is 25 to 35 feet, or 40 per cent; and for streets 130 to 160 feet wide, the pavement is 40 to 50 feet, or 30 per cent.

With Car Track.

For a residence street containing a car track, the minimum width permissible is 28 feet, which will allow a car to pass with a vehicle on each side of the track. In Brook lyn a great many streets only 34 feet wide between curbs contain a double line of street-car tracks, which leaves a space of only 9} feet between the track and the curb. This is astonishingly small, but seems to do fairly well.

On a business street containing a -car track, it is wise to make the pavement wide enough to permit a vehicle to pass between the car while another vehicle stands at the curb. This will require about 48 feet. If the street is too narrow to permit this width of pavement and also the proper width of sidewalks, only one track should be allowed in the street; if a double track is neces sary, the cars should be required to make the return trip by another street.

At Rochester, N. Y., the car tracks on residence streets are located on the parking at the side of the street. This is an un usual arrangement, but it possesses some advantages. 1 It separates the vehicular and car traffic, and prevents mutual inter ference. 2. It permits a narrower pavement. 3. It prevents disturbance of the pavement to repair the car track. 4. It lessens the danger of a passenger's being struck by another car or a vehicle in leaving a car. The objection to this arrangement is that it interferes with the grade of the driveways to private grounds.