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a curb cut in a sidewalk in New York


Compound of curb +‎ cut. Attested since the 1920s in the “vehicle access” sense.


English Wikipedia has an article on:

curb cut (plural curb cuts)

  1. (US) A small ramp cut into a curb to allow wheelchairs, baby carriages, bicycles, etc. to more easily enter or leave a sidewalk.
    • 2004, Rosangela K. Boyd and Bonnie Moulton, “Universal design for online education: Access for all”, in Dominique Monolescu, Catherine Schifter, and Linda Greenwood, editors, The Distance Education Evolution[1], page 69:
      Although currently mandated by accessibility related laws, curb cuts benefit not only wheelchair users, but also mothers with baby carriages, older adults with canes, and small children who have not learned to climb steps yet.
  2. A lowered area of curb to allow vehicles to access driveways or approaches, a drop kerb.
    • 1959, American Petroleum Institute, Model Ordinance Regulating Curb Cuts and Approaches to Service Stations:
      Curb cuts or beginning of approaches shall not be nearer the intersection than the extension of the property line between 20 ft and 12 ft controls.