Accessible sidewalks and street crossings : an informational guide
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Accessible sidewalks and street crossings : an informational guide

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  • Abstract:
    In order to meet the needs of all sidewalk users, designers must have a clear understanding of the wide range of abilities that occur within the population. Sidewalks, like roadways, should be designed to serve all users. This includes children, older people, parents with strollers, pedestrians who have vision impairments, and people using wheelchairs and other assistive devices. Just as a roadway will not be designed for one type of vehicle, the design of sidewalks should not be limited to only a single type of pedestrian user. Because the sidewalk

    is the basic unit of mobility within our overall system of transportation, every route and facility must be usable. Pedestrian facility design and operation must comply with the accessibility standards in the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968, the Rehabilitation

    Act of1973 (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Implementing regulations for Title II of the ADA, which covers State and local governments, also address "communications and information access," requiring 'effective communications' with persons with disabilities. In the sidewalk/street crossing environment, this would include accessible pedestrian signals, markings, and signage. The latest version of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) contains standards on Accessible Pedestrian

    Signals (APS) that have audible, visual, and vibrotactile features. These standards represent the minimum; designers should use more conservative design parameters whenever possible.

    Temporary and alternate pedestrian routes where sidewalks are obstructed by work zones must meet accessibility standards, as well. Pedestrians who must cross the street and then cross back again in order to continue on their destination will be exposed to significantly increased risk from vehicles. The intent of this guide is to focus on some of the emerging accessibility issues and the design parameters that affect sidewalk and street crossing design and operation.

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