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Roadway Cafe - Siting: Setup Area

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Can you tell me more about offsets?
What if my restaurant has a frontage of more than 40 feet?
What if my restaurant is near...
Clear Path
Setup Area
Furnishing Zone
Restaurant Frontage
an elevated subway?
a floating parking lane?
angled parking?

Restaurant Frontage

Restaurant frontage is the linear space your store occupies along the sidewalk. Restaurants at a corner will have two frontages.

Diagram showing a restaurants frontage.
Restaurant Frontage
  • Measure the length of your restaurant along the building line.

Setup Area

Setup Area: Frontage Greater than 40 feet

If your restaurant frontage is greater than 40 feet you may have multiple cafes as long as no cafe is greater than 40 feet in length.

For roadway cafes that are 40 feet long, you must maintain 6 feet of spacing between cafes. You must also maintain 6 feet between your cafe and adjacent cafes. This requires you to maintain a 4 foot 6 inch offset from your frontage and your neighbor to maintain a 1 foot 6 inch offset from their frontage.

Diagram showing setup requirements for a restaurant with a frontage greater than 40 feet.
Restaurant Frontage Greater than 40 feet
Maximum Length
Required Between Cafes
Required between Cafes within your Frontage
Required from Frontage
  • How to measure if your frontage is greater than 40 feet.

Setup Area: Offsets from Restaurant Frontage

If your neighbor’s cafe is directly adjacent to yours, you both need to maintain 1 foot 6 inches from the boundary of your frontages – for a total of 3 feet between cafes.

If there is no adjacent cafe or your frontages are not next to each other, you can locate your cafe right to the boundary of your frontage. However, if at any time an adjacent restaurant is authorized to set up a roadway cafe, you will need to adjust your setup to maintain the 1 foot 6 inch offset.

Diagram showing distances required between setups in various conditions.
Neighboring Frontage
Neighboring Frontage
Restaurant Frontage
No offset from frontage required if no adjacent cafe or 3 feet is provided naturally
Required between cafes
Offset from frontage line
  • How to measure if your neighbor has a cafe.

Furnishing Zone

The Furnishing Zone is a section of the sidewalk, parallel to the curb where street furniture and amenities, such as lighting, benches, wayfinding signs, utility poles, tree beds, bicycle parking, and more are placed.

No elements of a roadway cafe may be placed in the Furnishing Zone.

Diagram showing the furnishing zone.
Restaurant Frontage
Furnishing Zone
  • Furnishing Zone Diagram.

Clear Path

Clear path is the unobstructed path on the sidewalk for pedestrian circulation. NYC DOT requires different clear path widths depending on the type of corridor as described in the Pedestrian Mobility Plan.

Find out your corridor type on the Pedestrian Demand Map on Open Data.

No element of a roadway cafe can obstruct the clear path.

Clear path diagram.
Restaurant Frontage
Clear Path
  • Clear Path Diagram.

What if I’m under an elevated structure?

Setup areas are permitted underneath elevated structures. You’ll have to maintain 3 feet from the structure in addition to all other required clearances.

Diagram showing how to maintain required clearances from elevated infrastructure.
Restaurant Frontage
Setup Area
  • Measure 3 feet from the nearest portion of the elevated structure to your setup. This offset applies to both barriers and vertical elements like umbrellas. You must also maintain clearance from subway stairs or elevators.

Can I setup in a floating parking lane?

Yes! You still have to abide by the setup requirements, and you must provide ADA-compliant access to the setup.

Cafes in a floating parking lane may be right next to but not cover the pavement markings used for the bicycle lane buffer. Otherwise, all other required clearances must be maintained.

Must provide ADA-compliant access to the setup
May be right next to but cannot cover the markings used as a buffer
Required from pavement markings
  • Floating Parking Lane Diagram.

What if I have angled parking at the curb?

Yes. You are permitted to place a roadway cafe within angled parking spaces. However, NYC DOT will review on a case-by-case basis so that visibility and traffic safety is considered.

Diagram showing angled parking setup.
Offsets from the parking lines to preserve sight lines
  • Angled Parking Diagram.