Why a Sidewalk Slot Drain is Better For Your Civic Project

Safety is a top priority for urban planners, especially when it comes to areas that are frequently used by pedestrians: sidewalks, pedestrian corridors, bike lanes, etc.

Since every day can’t be dry and sunny, proper sidewalk drainage is critical to the safety of any public walkway, but not just any sidewalk drainage system will do. Reliability, efficiency, and ease of maintenance must all be carefully considered.

Design is also of high importance. Large trench-style drains allow for too many solid materials to fall in (think of drains filled with candy wrappers, rotting food, and other undesirable things).

Here’s why a slot drain should be your first choice when it comes to effective civic drainage.


The Importance of Sidewalk Drainage


It’s an indisputable fact: without proper drainage, water will pool. This can result in damage to the surrounding concrete, patches of ice in the winter, and any number of hazards for pedestrians. Some of the significant issues that result from a lack of drainage include the following.


Deterioration Of Sidewalks and Landscaping

When water is allowed to sit on the surface of a sidewalk, it can cause the concrete to deteriorate, resulting in cracks and potholes — big chunks of the walkway can even start to break off or disappear.

Not only is this unattractive, but it is also a tripping hazard and opens the door for further damage as water continues to enter the damaged area, expanding when frozen and breaking the pavement further.

Standing water can also damage the surrounding landscaping by eroding the soil, making for an unattractive sight and creating other safety issues, like instability and holes people can trip over.


Slipping Hazards


With nowhere to go, water creates a slick surface. During cooler months, that water can sit for long periods and may even freeze over, leaving a dangerous surface for people to walk on.

With the installation of a sidewalk slot drain, all of these issues can be avoided. The drain provides a destination for this water runoff, so it will not pool on the surface, causing damage and becoming a safety hazard to the public.

Slot Drain Systems slot drains also come pre-sloped, preventing standing water, which will also help mitigate associated pests.


Disadvantages of a Traditional Sidewalk Trench Drain

Traditional trench drains are big, bulky systems that require grate covers to prevent objects from falling in and people from tripping on them. While they are an effective solution for sidewalk drainage, they have many flaws, the largest of which is the grate.

While these grates are meant to protect people and the drain, they can be unattractive and aren’t the most durable option, often requiring replacement due to heavy traffic and wear and tear. If they break, they can become massive tripping hazards, especially if they are not replaced promptly. They are also heavy, and removing them for drain cleaning can lead to injuries if not done correctly.


While these grates can make walking over the drain a little safer, the openings are still big enough that people who have healed shoes, people who use walking aids, and small children and animals can trip over them. It’s also still fairly easy for items to fall into them if people aren't careful.


Choosing a Better System


Choosing the right sidewalk drainage is essential for creating a safe public space. While a traditional system can be effective, there are better market options that offer a sleeker design and more efficiency.

The Slot Drain Systems slot drain is a modern take on the traditional sidewalk trench drain. This linear system comes pre-sloped and pre-assembled, helping to prevent standing water within the drain. And, with openings between 0.5 inches and 1.25 inches, there’s no need for grates, making them ADA compliant, as well as more attractive.

We offer several models that are perfect for sidewalks and public spaces, featuring durable stainless steel designs and exceeding Load Class C, allowing them to stand up against all pedestrian traffic and regular vehicle traffic.

Slot drains are also made of stainless steel, which means they’re temperature-, and corrosion-resistant — ideal for outdoor use.



Despite a slot drain’s narrow opening, they can actually handle flow rates between 11 and 27 gallons per minute, per foot, making them highly effective for draining even heavy rains and snow storms.

An additional bonus is that these systems are easy to clean and maintain, particularly since there is no grate to complicate cleaning. While a brush-and-paddle method is an easy way to clean the drain, clean-in-place options, such as our Flush-Flo accessory, are also available.


Protect Your Sidewalk with Slot Drain

Without proper drainage, a public area can suffer major damage due to pooling water. This damage is not only cosmetic, but can create unsafe conditions that can lead to serious injury.

Slot Drain Systems’ grateless linear systems offer the perfect mix of design simplicity and efficiency. With a slot drain system in place, you won’t have to worry about standing water or replacing worn-out grates again.



If you have an upcoming project or any questions regarding outdoor drainage, don’t hesitate to contact one of our drain experts today. We can offer drainage solutions for any landscape application that are both functional and elegant.


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