Growing up, roads always used to have a clearly separated sidewalk with a height difference.

All new streets I see have no such curbs/height differences. Instead, it's just one "blur" of road/sidewalk.

What is the point of this? Or rather, why did they not always do this? Surely it's easier to just make it one big slab of asphalt?

Why did they go out of their way to make a "curb"/height obstacle before, but no longer?

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    $\begingroup$ Please add additional information to you post. You say that curbs have stopped being constructed, but there are many places where that is not true right at this very moment. An image of what you are asking about would be very beneficial. There may be reasons why a certain location would choose to have a curb or not. $\endgroup$
    – hazzey
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ Which roads? Where? Non-residential? Residential? High-traffic residential? Low-traffic residential? $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ You need to add some context. As in address the concerns identified in the comments. A picture and location will help. Curbs are the bane of the handicapped. Round-abouts seem to bb curb-less. $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2021 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


On the following roads, a curb is not desirable - highway without pedestrian traffic, rural highway (ease of pulling to the shoulder and not to restrict water flow to ditches), City streets designated as walking zone, usually for tourism/commercial purposes, and no vehicular traffic allowed.

The street curbs, raised sidewalks are designed to impede the movement of low-speed vehicles to protect the pedestrians, also to force/divert the rain-water flow to the catch basin.

  • $\begingroup$ I can't help feeling that your answer is trying to describe best practice, whereas OP was asking about common practice. The two may be very different. $\endgroup$ Commented May 23, 2021 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Daniel I believe your comment is made during the "review the answer" process. However, it is mischaracterized as all examples in the answer are pointing to the common reasons/practices in determining whether a curb is required or not, rather than the best practices, which usually meant the geometries (width, height, slope...etc) of the curbs. The OP seems confused why some of the roads do not have curb as others do. $\endgroup$
    – r13
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ Good point, but what I really had in mind is that, in the area where I live, there are many roads where the presence of legacy field-boundary structures renders the installation of kerbs difficult or impossible, even when they would be very useful for the reasons set out in the second paragraph of your answer. $\endgroup$ Commented May 23, 2021 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Daniel I am not familiar with the situation you've mentioned. I think it would be a good idea to provide it as an answer, as it could be just the OP is seeking and will be beneficial to others, I included, that do not know/realize the existence of such constrain in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – r13
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 21:14

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