Pedestrian Facilities

Planning and Development Services (PDS) has initiated a collaborative project with Public Works to review and evaluate the County's policies on pedestrian facility requirements for new development. The project aims to clarify the requirements found in Chapters 30.24 and 30.66B of the Snohomish County Code and Engineering Design and Development Standards by:

  • Addressing ambiguity in requiring a network of pedestrian facilities within residential development; 
  • Providing guidance about when residential development is required to provide walking routes to schools and bus stops;
  • Revising the County's engineering design standards for pedestrian facilities; and
  • Other related issues that stakeholders may find valuable for consideration.

When Pedestrian Facilities Are Required 

The County generally requires pedestrian facilities:

  • Along public rights-of-way fronting new development;
  • Within new development to form a network that connects dwelling/buildings and other features together; and
  • Short subdivisions and subdivisions are also required to provide pedestrian facilities to ensure adequate routes for kids to walk to schools and school bus stops.

What Are Pedestrian Facilities?

The County uses the term "pedestrian facilities" as a catch-all phrase to describe a range of different elements that together create complete facilities for walking. These include elements like curb ramps, crosswalks, paved shoulders, raised and at-grade sidewalks, shared use paths, and trails. It also includes other devices and facilities designed to guide and protect pedestrians, such as wayfinding signage, walking signals and stoplight push buttons, barriers and bollards, tactile warning surfaces, and street calming techniques.   

County Code defines a pedestrian facility as follows:

"[I]nfrastructure and equipment that create a walking environment including sidewalks, curb ramps, traffic control devices, trails, walkways, crosswalks, paved shoulders, shared use paths and other design features intended to provide for pedestrian travel."


What Pedestrian Facilities May Look Like

How Pedestrian Facility Requirements May Be Strengthened

The County is considering development code amendments, changes to the Engineering Design and Development Standards, and adoption of an administrative rule to strengthen pedestrian facility requirements.

Several code amendments could be proposed to the development code, including three primary changes to the pedestrian facility requirements section (SCC 30.24.080) of the access and road network chapter (SCC 30.24) and add one new requirement in the concurrency and road impact mitigation chapter (SCC 30.66B):
Issue Existing Code Provision Possible Code Change
Complete pedestrian networks New developments are required to create complete pedestrian networks from dwelling units and other buildings to several other features and facilities associated with the site like parking areas, on-site recreation spaces, community facilities, other residences and buildings, mailbox groupings, and other pedestrian facilities. The provision could be changed to clarify that the meaning of "other pedestrian facilities" to include pedestrian facilities located within the public right-of-way, private road elements, or other frontage improvements.
Short road stubs as shared facilities Some street types that are designed to dead-end can be exempted from pedestrian facility requirements (see SCC 30.24.080(5)). These streets must be 150 feet in length or less and have daily traffic volumes that 90 trips or less. The provision could be revised to designate these short road stubs as shared pedestrian and vehicle facilities.

Internal site pedestrian networks Additional circulation requirements may be required by the County Engineer (see SCC 30.24.080(8)) to provide for pedestrian connectivity and safety in new developments. Typically, the County Engineer has only required these types of pedestrian facilities off-site or within the public right-of-way.  The provision could be amended to delegate authority to the PDS Director for pedestrian facilities that are either outside of the right-of-way or separated by more than 10 feet from a private road network element.
Pedestrian routes to school New subdivisions and short subdivisions are required to provide adequate walking facilities for student who walk to school or walk to bus stops. PDS is granted the authority to condition such developments to provide off-site walking facilities to satisfy the requirement, but other residential development types are not subject to the requirements. The concurrency and road mitigation chapter (SCC 30.66B) could be amended to require all new residential development to provide sidewalks and other facilities that assure adequate walking conditions for students who walk to and from school or bus stops.

Example of an EDDS drawing for street design.

Public Works may add new drawings to the Engineering Design and Development Standards (EDDS) manual to specify acceptable pedestrian facility designs. This could include drawings that:

  • Depict acceptable raised, at-grade, and separated pedestrian facility designs constructed as part of a public road, private road, or drive aisle; and 
  • Require chicanes, curb extensions, or similar street calming design to provide safer pedestrian facilities adjoining long, straight internal road network elements.
PDS may create a new administrative rule to provide additional detail and specificity on what it means to form a network to other pedestrian facilities (see SCC 30.24.080(3)(f)) and what it means to connect to on-site recreational facilities (see SCC 30.24.080(3)(e)).

  • As described above, County code requires new developments to create complete pedestrian networks between various types of features and facilities associated with the development. The development code, however, does not describe what constitutes other pedestrian facilities, leaving ambiguity in application of the requirement. The PDS Rule could clarify the requirement, including any proposed code revision to it and how the requirement may be applied to adjoining developments. 
  • The same general provision applies to connecting on-site recreation spaces, but has often been interpreted to only connecting to just the edge of an open space instead of continuing through to facilities like a playground. The PDS Rule may clarify the application of provision.

Get Involved

The County is the early process of gathering stakeholder and community feedback. Your input can help shape the kind of changes that PDS will propose to the County's pedestrian facility requirements. Please direct comments to the project manager, David Killingstad (see contact information above).

Project Contact

David Killingstad, Principal Planner

Project Schedule

A public hearing before the Planning Commission was held on April 25, 2017. The Planning Commission voted to recommend the County Council approve the proposed code amendments relating to pedestrian facilities. PDS will be transmitting the Planning Commission’s recommendation to the County Council for their consideration in early summer. 

Project Documents