Denver Parks & Recreation Planning Design and Construction Standards

Denver Parks & Recreation
Planning & Design


Parks + Recreation


Design + Construction Standards

3.3   Hardscape                                                                                        

Hardscape is used to provide gathering places and direct circulation within a park. Circulation within parks encompasses vehicular modes as well as alternative forms of transportation such as bicycling, walking, rollerblading, etc. Trails are discussed in the Program Elements section.

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3.3.1         Walkways

The purpose of walkways is to highlight pedestrian circulation routes through a park and provide a durable surface on which to walk these routes. Pedestrian circulation should connect people to program elements, special features, and parking; however, some walkways just provide a place for recreational walking. Looped walkway systems, as well as perimeter walks within the ROW, are preferred. Entrances to parks are emphasized by walkways and these should be located in a logical, convenient and aesthetic manner. Where possible, walkways shall link to existing and proposed trail networks. Coordinate with Public Works to ensure connectivity within the ROW and through adjacent neighborhoods.

Primary walkways. The purpose of primary walkways is to formalize the primary pedestrian circulation route, provide accessibility to all users and allow emergency and maintenance vehicle access. Primary walkways should include security lighting and be composed of concrete. Provide a minimum 20’ radius at intersections.

Secondary walkways. Secondary walkways support circulation patterns and serve aesthetic aspects such as dividing landscape types or program elements. These walkways can be composed of concrete, crusher fines, asphalt, pavers, etc., but must be an ADA accessible surface. Security lighting on secondary walkways should be determined on a case by case basis.

Tertiary walkways. Tertiary walkways tend to provide access to more private and secluded areas and may not have the formalness of primary and secondary walkways. These walkways may use alternative paving materials such as crusher fines or other porous materials. There will be no plowing on tertiary walkways and this should be considered in the design of the walkways. Trails in Natural Areas may be classified as tertiary trails and can be designed as soft-surface, low-impact trails a minimum of four feet wide.

Table Walkway Layout

Type of Walkway


Primary walkway

10’ wide (min.)

Primary walkway adjacent to ball field lights (should accommodate vehicles with outriggers)


12’ wide (min.)

Walkways in front of parking stalls without wheel stops


9’ wide (min.)

Secondary Walkways

6’ wide (min.)

Tertiary Walkways

4’ wide (min.)

Walkway Design. Concrete walkways should be approved for alignment and grade. Radii shall be continuous and flowing to avoid angular intersections in the horizontal alignment.  A minimum 20-foot radius shall be used for connections  along primary walkways and secondary walkways requiring plowing in the winter. All concrete walkways shall have a broom finish. Walkway expansion and control joints should be located and constructed in accordance with specifications.

Soft Surface Trails. Soft surface or crusher fines trails are appropriate materials for secondary or tertiary pedestrian trails that are not plowed in winter. Care should be taken to minimize the migration of crusher fines onto adjacent paved areas as this can result in a slippery walking condition. Wherever possible and especially on sloped areas, crusher fines trails shall be stabilized with Soiltac or equal. Soiltac is a liquid additive and is available from Bowman Construction Supply (Tom Bowman 303.696.8960).

Non-concrete walkways should be approved for alignment and grade and shall be designed to prevent weeds and ensure a consistent trail cross-section through the use of stabilizer, if necessary. Use edging where appropriate. See specifications for acceptable materials.

Handicap Ramps. Ramps shall be designed in accordance with current Public Works standards. Handicap ramps are required at all primary and secondary walkways.

3.3.2          Stairs & Ramps

Stairs and ramps shall comply with ADA guidelines. Open risers are not permitted under ADA. Specifics on treads and risers, nosings, handrails and detectable warnings are given in the ADA guidelines. Additionally, the maximum height between landings, on stairs, should be five feet. To prevent potential tripping hazards, single steps should be avoided. For ramps, specifics on width, slope, landings, handrails, edge protection and outdoor conditions are given in the ADA guidelines.

3.3.3          Plazas

Plazas shall comply with ADA standards, provide the ability to accommodate a  wide variety of  functions/events in  the  space,   and  should  have  positive drainage away from buildings. Expansion and control joints should be provided to functionally manage cracking and to aesthetically add to the plaza design. Provide for lighting, electric power and a water source.

3.3.4          Mow Strips

Concrete mow strips shall be provided to separate all lawn areas from natural areas, under fencing, where fencing is adjacent to turf or ground cover that requires edging or mowing, as an integral component of any wall. Mow strip width shall be a minimum 12 inches wide. No metal edging is allowed in parks for safety reasons

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