Driveways are part of the footpath

Is the driveway to the shopping centre carpark part of the road or is it part of the footpath? Most people – motorists and pedestrians – don’t realise that driveways are part of the footpath. And what about crossing side streets adjoining main roads? Who should give way to whom?

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell because the visual cues are confusing. If the footpath section has a steep camber towards the roadway it looks like the road. And sometimes there are hazard warning tactile markers where the driveway goes over the footpath. So it looks like the road. Also, the colour of the driveway is often different to the adjoining footpath.

Augustus Brown discusses the issues in his article about continuous footpaths at driveways and side streets. Drivers crossing the footpath to or from a driveway must give way to people walking. Drivers must also give way to people crossing the road when turning at intersections.

To highlight the priority for people walking, footpaths should be designed to give a clear visual cue that drivers need to slow and give way.

Image from the article

A wide driveway uses the same colour concrete as the footpath. It is level and not cambered towards the road. Vehicles must slow to negotiate the short kerb ramp.

Design principles of continuous footpaths

  • Footpaths should be visually uninterrupted at the crossing point
  • Footpath pavement material should be consistent
  • Footpath pavement should remain level at the crossing
  • Narrow kerb ramps should lift crossing vehicles to the height of the footpath

Images from the article

A side street roadway is painted to indicate that pedestrians are on a footway, not a roadway.

Clearly marked continuous footpaths and cycle lanes give priority to both cyclists and pedestrians.

A footpath and cycle lane are side by side and receive the same continuous treatment across a side street.

Brown’s article has several examples of well designed treatments of footpaths across driveways and side streets and some drawings with more information. The title of the article is, Continuous Footpaths at Driveways & Side Streets.

Queensland has a technical guideline for path users and driveways.

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