Standards for seating within public plazas are intended to facilitate the provision of abundant, comfortable and accessible seating throughout the public plaza, including, more specifically, as follows:
(a) to provide a broad variety of seating types and configurations;
(b) to accommodate individual users engaged in solitary activities as well as groups engaged in social activities;
(c) to provide a comfortable and safe seating surface by providing smooth, even and level surfaces with rounded edges;
(d) to incorporate, to the maximum extent possible, a combination of fixed benches, moveable chairs, seating with backs, seat walls and ledges, and seating steps;
(e) to provide ample opportunity for social seating as a basic seating type that consists of seats that are placed in close proximity and at angles to one another or in facing configurations that facilitate social interaction.
There shall be a minimum of one linear foot of seating for each 30 square feet of public plaza area.
A minimum of one linear foot of the required seating for every two linear feet of street frontage must be located within 15 feet of the street line. At least 50 percent of this seating shall have backs and at least 50 percent of the seats with backs shall face the street.
Seating requirements may be satisfied by the following seating types: moveable seating, fixed individual seats, fixed benches with and without backs, and design-feature seating such as seat walls, planter ledges, or seating steps. All public plazas shall provide at least two different types of seating. Public plazas greater than 5,000 square feet in area shall provide at least three different types of seating. Public plazas greater than 10,000 square feet in area must provide moveable seating as one of the required seating types.
Not more than 50 percent of the linear seating capacity may be in moveable seats that may be stored between the hours of sunset and sunrise, where the City Planning Commission has authorized a limitation on the hours of access pursuant to Section 37-727.
Devices or forms affixed or incorporated into planter ledges, steps, sills or other horizontal surfaces that would otherwise be suitable for seating that are intended to prevent or inhibit seating (such as spikes, metal bars, or pointed, excessively rough, or deliberately uncomfortable materials or forms) shall be prohibited.
Deterrents to skateboards, rollerblades and other wheeled devices are permitted on seating surfaces if they do not inhibit seating, maintain a minimum distance of five feet between deterrents, and are integrated into the seating surface at the time of manufacture or construction or should be constructed of materials that are consistent with the materials and finish quality of the seating surface.
The following standards shall be met for all required seating:
(1) Seating shall have a minimum depth of 18 inches. Seating with 36 inches or more in depth may count towards two seats, provided there is access to both sides. When required seating is provided on a planter ledge, such ledge must have a minimum depth of 22 inches.
(2) Seating shall have a height not less than 16 inches nor greater than 20 inches above the level of the adjacent walking surface. However, as described in paragraph (5) of this Section, seating steps may have a height not to exceed 30 inches and seating walls may have a height not to exceed 24 inches.
(3) At least 50 percent of the linear feet of fixed seating shall have backs at least 14 inches high and a maximum seat depth of 20 inches. Walls located adjacent to a seating surface shall not count as seat backs. All seat backs must either be contoured in form for comfort or shall be reclined from vertical between 10 to 15 degrees.
(4) Moveable seating or chairs, excluding seating for open air cafes, may be credited as 24 inches of linear seating per chair. Moveable seating provided as a required amenity shall be provided in the amount of one chair per 200 square feet of public plaza area. One table shall be provided for every four such moveable chairs.
All moveable seats must have backs and a maximum seat depth of 20 inches. Moveable chairs shall not be chained, fixed or otherwise secured while the public plaza is open to the public; moveable chairs, however, may be removed during the nighttime hours of 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
(5) Seating steps and seating walls may be used for required seating if such seating does not, in aggregate, represent more than 15 percent of the linear feet of required seating in the public plaza. Seating steps shall not include any steps intended for circulation and must have a height not less than six inches nor greater than 30 inches and a depth not less than 18 inches. Seating walls shall have a height not greater than 18 inches; such seating walls, however, may have a height not to exceed 24 inches if they are located within 10 feet of an edge of the public plaza.
(6) Seating in open air cafes shall not count towards meeting the seating requirement of this Section.
(7) Seats that face walls must be a minimum of six feet from such wall.
The provisions of this Section are intended to facilitate a combination of landscaping elements in order to provide comfort, shade and textural variety.
At least 20 percent of the area of a public plaza shall be comprised of planting beds with a minimum dimension of two feet, exclusive of any bounding walls.
All public plazas shall provide a minimum of four trees. For a public plaza greater than 6,000 square feet in area, an additional four caliper inches in additional trees or multi-stemmed equivalents must be provided for each additional 1,000 square feet of public plaza area, rounded to the nearest 1,000 square feet.
For all public plazas, at least 50 percent of required trees shall be planted flush-to-grade or planted at grade within planting beds with no raised curbs or railings. Trees planted flush-to-grade shall be surrounded by a porous surface (such as grating or open-joint paving) that allows water to penetrate into the soil for a minimum radius of 2 feet, 6 inches. Such porous surface shall be of sufficient strength and density to accommodate pedestrian circulation, including all requirements related to accessibility for the disabled, and shall be of a design that allows for tree growth. Installed fixtures such as lighting stanchions, electrical outlets or conduits shall not be located within the required porous area of any tree planted flush-to-grade.
Where trees are planted within a public plaza, they shall measure at least four inches in caliper at the time of planting, unless alternative, multi-stemmed equivalents are specified in the approved planting plans. Each tree shall be planted in at least 200 cubic feet of soil with a depth of soil of at least 3 feet, 6 inches.
Planting beds shall have a soil depth of at least 18 inches for grass or other ground cover, three feet for shrubs and 3 feet, 6 inches for trees. No planters or planting beds shall have bounding walls that exceed 18 inches in height above an adjacent walking surface or the highest adjacent surface where the bounding wall adjoins two or more walking surfaces with different elevations. Any planting bed containing required trees shall have a continuous area of at least 75 square feet for each tree exclusive of bounding walls. Furthermore, each tree located within a planting bed shall be surrounded by a continuous permeable surface measuring at least five feet square. Any lawns or turf grass planting beds shall not exceed six inches above any adjacent walking surfaces.
All planted areas shall either be automatically irrigated or shall consist of species that do not require regular watering.
All planted areas located above subsurface structures such as cellars or garages shall have drainage systems to prevent collection and pooling of water within planted areas.
Street trees are required to be planted in the public sidewalk area adjacent to a zoning lot that contains bonus floor area for public plazas in accordance with Section 26-41 (Street Tree Planting). The length of frontage of the zoning lot for the purpose of computing required street trees may be reduced by 50 feet for each street intersection fronted by the zoning lot. If the Department of Parks and Recreation determines that the tree planting requirements of this paragraph are infeasible, the number of required street trees that cannot be planted shall be planted in accordance with the off-site tree provisions set forth in Section 26-41 or within the public plaza.
Public plazas shall be illuminated to provide for safe use and enjoyment of all areas of the public plaza. Special attention should be provided in lighting steps and other changes in elevation and areas under tree canopies and permitted canopies within the public plaza.
Public plazas shall be illuminated with a minimum level of illumination of not less than two horizontal foot candles (lumens per foot) throughout all walkable and sitting areas, including sidewalks directly adjacent to the public plaza, and a minimum level of illumination of not less than 0.5 horizontal foot candles (lumens per foot) throughout all other areas. All lighting sources used to satisfy this illumination requirement shall be located outdoors on the subject zoning lot. Such level of illumination shall be maintained from one hour before sunset to one hour after sunrise, including public plazas that are authorized to close at night. A lighting schedule, including fixtures, wattage and their locations and designs together with a diagram of light level distribution, with light levels indicated at intervals of no more than every 20 square feet, shall be part of the required detailed design plans. Electrical power shall be supplied by one or more outlets furnishing a total of at least 1,200 watts of power for every 4,000 square feet, or fraction thereof, of the area of a public plaza.
All lighting sources that illuminate the public plaza and are mounted on or located within buildings adjacent to the public plaza shall be shielded from direct view. In addition, all lighting within the public plaza area shall be shielded to minimize any adverse effect on surrounding residences.
One litter receptacle shall be provided for every 1,500 square feet of public plaza area, up to a maximum of 6,000 square feet. Plazas greater than 6,000 square feet in area must provide an additional litter receptacle for every additional 2,000 square feet of public plaza area. Public plazas that contain open air cafes or kiosks providing food service shall provide one additional litter receptacle for each 1,500 square feet of public plaza area occupied by such outdoor eating area. All litter receptacles must have a volume capacity of at least 25 gallons and shall be located in visible and convenient locations. All top or side openings must have a minimum dimension of 12 inches. Litter receptacles shall be provided within 50 feet of required seating areas in the public plaza.
All public plazas shall provide parking for at least two bicycles. Public plazas greater than 10,000 square feet in size must provide parking for at least four bicycles. Bike racks must be provided on the sidewalk directly adjacent to the public plaza in accordance with Department of Transportation standards, unless the Department of Transportation has determined that the sidewalk area adjacent to the public plaza cannot accommodate the required bicycle parking.
A minimum of one drinking fountain shall be provided in all public plazas.