Many footpaths in Yarra are too narrow

Best practice footpaths provide sufficient width so people can walk side by side, or pass others. The required width increases as a function of traffic. The Walking Space Guide from Transport for NSW offers guidelines for five types of footpaths, ranging from 2 metres wide on local streets to 4.5 metres wide on busy shopping streets. This aligns well with Australian Standard AS 1428, which recommends at least 1.8 metres to allow two wheelchair users to pass.

Image credit: Transport for NSW Walking Space Guide

Footpaths in Yarra

Council has an asset management system that includes data on footpath width. Streets Alive Yarra obtained a dataset from council in 2018, and generated this histogram, showing that many footpaths are narrower than Yarra’s target of 1.5 metres, let along a minimum best practice width of 2.0 metres:

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Options

Streets with narrow, obstructed or non-existent footpaths have two basic options:

  • Remove on-street parking to enable wider footpaths, or
  • Convert the street to a 10-30 km/h shared zone, so people can walk or roll on the street.

Photos of narrow footpaths in Yarra

This page collates images of streets in Yarra with narrow footpaths. Please send us images of any narrow footpath that you find.

Blanche Street, Cremorne

Footpath blocked by parked cars. Footpath too narrow for a wheelchair.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Chapel Street, Cremorne

Footpath too narrow for a wheelchair.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Fitzgibbon Street, Cremorne

Footpath obstructed on both sides by poles. Even without obstructions, the footpath is too narrow for a wheelchair.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Brady Street, Richmond

Footpath often blocked by parked cars. Footpath too narrow for a wheelchair.

Parking on the footpath on Brady Street. Source: Google Maps.

Gwynne Street, Cremorne

Footpath is blocked by vehicles and poles, causing people to walk on the street.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Little Hoddle Street, Richmond

Access obstructed by parking in a no-standing zone, designated by the yellow line.

Parking where access is required (yellow line along kerb). Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.

Regent Street, Richmond

Footpath leading to North Richmond train station is obstructed by car parking.

Parking on the footpath near North Richmond train station. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.
Regent Street. Image credit: Google Maps.

Rule Street, Richmond

Footpath is obstructed by car parking.

Parking on the footpath on Rule Street. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.

Studley Street, Abbotsford

Footpath is obstructed by cars parked on the footpath.

Parking on the footpath on Studley Street, west of Nicholson Street. Source: Google Maps.

Yarra Street, Abbotsford

Footpath is obstructed by cars parked on the footpath.

Parking on the footpath on Yarra Street, east of Nicholson Street. Source: Google Maps.

Conclusion

Many footpaths in Yarra are too narrow. Council should adopt a policy targeting a minimum unobstructed footpath width of 2 metres, matching the Walking Space Guide from Transport for NSW. When a footpath is narrower than 2 metres, it should not be permitted to be narrowed further (e.g. by adding a pole, tree or other obstruction).

Other information on footpaths

Learn more from our collection of pages on footpaths:

Take action

Send us a photo of your narrow footpath