Ribbon Sidewalk

Usage: Wide

A sidewalk that is separated from the roadway by a continuous, unpaved planting strip. Most existing ribbon sidewalks in the city have a lawn planting strip, more sustainable landscaping options should be utilized whenever possible. Alternatively, planting strips can be designed as pilot Stormwater Management Practices to help collect stormwater runoff.

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Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn
Rockaway Beach, Queens


See benefits of Full Sidewalk

  • Provides greater space for tree roots than a Full Sidewalk with individual Tree Beds, improving long-term tree health
  • Provides a modest improvement in stormwater detention from the sidewalk and/or roadway as compared to a Full Sidewalk
  • Provides a more attractive streetscape in areas of low- to moderate-density residential land use


  • Areas within zoning districts R1 through R6
  • Consider wherever pedestrian volumes can be accommodated and curbside activity is low


See geometric design guidance for Full Sidewalk and materials guidance for Sidewalks

  • Ribbon sidewalks should be at least 5 feet wide or as required to match the existing ribbon width in the adjacent surrounding sidewalk; they should be wider along arterials and collector roads
  • Planting strips adjacent to ribbon sidewalks must be planted with groundcover vegetation for erosion control if a Stormwater Management Practice is not used; herbaceous plant material, preferably native or adapted species, should be used rather than grass wherever possible, as turf absorbs water from tree roots, has little benefit to habitat, and requires the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and lawnmowers that can potentially damage tree roots
  • Where there are fire hydrants in the planting strip adjacent to a ribbon sidewalk, a 5-foot-by-5-foot slab of 6-inch-thick concrete on 6-inch, crushed-stone base extending from the curb to the sidewalk is required
  • Similar considerations apply to other elements, such as lampposts and signal posts
  • Where feasible and if there is a maintenance partner, utilize Stormwater Management Practices within planting strip rather than groundcover vegetation alone