Restaurant frontage is the linear space your store occupies along the sidewalk. Restaurants at a corner will have two frontages.
- Measure the length of your restaurant along the building line.
The area where you can place a barrier, tables, chairs and other items and operate a roadway cafe. Review how to measure your setup area.
- Roadway cafes can only be placed in:
- A roadway cafe may not be placed in the areas below including, but not limited to:
- The setup area must be located within your restaurant’s frontage. The maximum length is 40 feet. Learn more about requirements for restaurants with frontage greater than 40 feet
- The maximum width for a cafe is 8 feet, however NYC DOT may require less than 8 feet to address safety issues.
- The fee you pay yearly is based on the length and width of your cafe and where you are located in the City. Review the sector rate map to help determine your annual revocable consent fee.
- A 15 foot emergency travel lane must be maintained adjacent to a cafe. NYC DOT, in coordination with FDNY, may allow for a narrower emergency travel lane.
- In general, 3 feet minimum is required between cafes. Learn more about distances between cafes.
- You may have to reduce your setup area to stay clear of certain objects like a curb cut.
- Measure length running parallel to the curb. The maximum dimension permitted is 40 feet before needing space between cafes.
- Measure the width running perpendicular to the curb. 8 feet is the maximum, but NYC DOT may require a narrower setup to address safety or operational needs.
- Maintain required spacing between cafes. Measured between the perimeter of your cafe and the perimeter of the adjacent cafe.
- Metered and non-metered spaces.
- Commercial spaces.
- Alternate side parking.
- Angled spaces.
- Seasonal parking, including No Standing during posted months. (Credit: Cyclomedia)
- Loading Only.
- Truck Loading Only.
- Hotel Loading.
- No Parking.
- Bike Lane.
- Bus Lane.
- No Standing Anytime.
- No standing during posted hours.
- No Stopping.
- Bus Stop.
- Authorized Vehicle Parking.
- Dedicated use parking (e.g., carshare only).
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.
- 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.
- How to measure if your neighbor has a cafe.
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.
- Furnishing Zone Diagram.
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.
No element of a roadway cafe can obstruct the 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Angled Parking Diagram.