In Portland City Code Chapter 17.28 (Sidewalks, Curbs, and Driveways), responsibility for the construction, reconstruction, and repair of a sidewalk, as well as liability for any damages or injuries resulting from defective conditions, is assigned to the adjacent property owner. Authority is delegated to the City Engineer to require the repair or construction of the sidewalk where it is needed. Per Section 17.88.020 of the Code, private development may trigger the need for right-of-way improvements and property dedication along a property’s frontage. This includes providing or improving sidewalks or walkways in a manner consistent with the City’s Pedestrian Design Guide.
The purpose of the Pedestrian Design Guide is to integrate the wide range of design criteria and practices into a coherent set of standards and guidelines that, over time, will promote a walkable city while acknowledging the flexibility that will have to take place due to constraints. It establishes sidewalk design criteria, including requirements for minimum sidewalk widths, street tree space requirements, street corners, and crossings, among others. The Pedestrian Design Guide was developed in collaboration with City programs and agencies responsible for the form and function of the right-of-way, to address and understand the competing needs within the pedestrian realm and be realistic in how the space can be designed to address all its functions.
The Pedestrian Design Guide is an administrative rule. Every project that is designed and built in Portland must conform to its requirements.
While the Pedestrian Design Guide establishes the baseline requirements for the design and provision of pedestrian facilities in Portland, its requirements may be superseded by an adopted Streetscape or Area Plan where specialized or unique design treatments are desired.
However, where an adopted Streetscape or Area Plan is silent on any particular element of the right-of-way, the requirements of the Pedestrian Design Guide will apply.
3. Interim Exceptions
Within the Central City, sidewalk widths need not comply with Table B-3 of the 2022 Pedestrian Design Guide until the street design classifications for the Central City are revised as part of the 2022 Transportation System Plan update (anticipated adoption late 2023). Until then, sidewalks in the Central City will continue to utilize the standards from the 1998 Pedestrian Design Guide, which requires 15-foot sidewalk corridors on streets with a traffic classification other than Local Service Street and 12-foot sidewalk corridors on all other streets.
All other provisions of the 2022 Pedestrian Design Guide will apply to the Central City upon adoption of this administrative rule.
Portland City Code Chapter 17.28: Sidewalks, Curbs and Driveways.
Portland City Code Chapter 17.88.020: For Buildings and Planning Actions.
Adopted by Director of Bureau of Transportation on May 12, 2022 and effective July 1, 2022