Angela I. Carmon
|October 26, 2002|
CITY OF WINSTON-SALEM
Re: Draft guidelines on accessible public rights of way
The City of Winston-Salem welcomes this opportunity to comment on the draft guidelines for public rights of way. The City recognizes that Title II of the ADA prohibits state and local governments from discriminating against people with disabilities in their programs, services and facilities. The City is committed to making its services, programs and facilities accessible to all of its citizens including people with disabilities. To that end, the City certainly recognizes the need for accessible public rights of way which will enable all of its citizens to enjoy all that the city has to offer.
In the City's review of the draft guidelines, a few areas of concern were noted as outlined in Exhibit A attached hereto and incorporated herein. To the extent any of the comments are unclear, the City welcomes the opportunity for dialogue on these matters. The City's comments are not intended nor should they be viewed as objections to the concept of providing access to people with disabilities. The City has been and continues to be in support of reasonable accommodations and reasonable efforts to afford access to all of its citizens. Our desire is to seek clarity in the regulations and to perhaps point out unintended consequences associated with several of the proposed standards.
Again, the City thanks you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed guidelines and welcomes any future opportunity for dialogue. Should you have any questions, please feel
free to contact me at [ ... ].
Angela I. Carmon,
Assistant City Attorney
ADA Coordinator for the
City of Winston-Salem
COMMENTS FROM THE CITY OF WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA
OCTOBER 25, 2002
• Alternate Circulation Path (1102.3, 1111) It is not clear whether this section is saying that alternate paths must be provided on the same side of the street as construction/maintenance activities or if it’s saying that if a pedestrian path is provided on the same side appropriate barriers must be used. If the intent is to always require a path, on the same side of the street, as the construction/maintenance activity, complete street closures might become a regular occurrence. (There may not be enough street width to accommodate traffic and the required pedestrian path.) In addition, it is not clear how this rule would apply to sidewalks that are closed because of work off the right of way. i.e overhead work on a building or structure that would pose a danger to pedestrian walking underneath. The ability to close a sidewalk on one side of the street and have people use the parallel sidewalk on the other side is necessary for the safety of both pedestrians and motorists. The question becomes how to we tell visually impaired people the sidewalk is closed before they cross the street. In addition, there is no provision or definition that allows for emergency work, a gas main or water main leak without having to implement these provisions.
• Pedestrian Access Route (1102.4.) Is an alteration, considered the replacement of broken sidewalk? If so then does the repair of one section of sidewalk have meet the minimum clear width requirement? This could produce random 3- 4' sections that have to be widened to meet this requirement, thereby disrupting on-street parking and traffic flow and creating a very inconsistent minimum clear width for those it was intended to help.
• Protruding Objects (1102.5) In many places traffic signal control boxes may exceed the guideline for protruding objects. It’s neither feasible nor practical to lower them to 27" or raise them to 80". In the past, we have installed raised concrete slabs under the boxes to allow visually impaired pedestrians to detect them with their cane. This would seem to be a more practical solution to the problem.
• Pedestrian Crossings (1102.8,1105) Increasing the width of marked crosswalks can be accomplished easily. However, since the painted lines offer no protection and do not constrain pedestrian movement, the reasons for doing this must be questioned. In addition, in all but the largest cities, pedestrians volumes are such that existing crosswalks have more than enough space to accommodate people. It has been speculated, that 1:48 cross slopes will require tabling at each intersection. If so this will be cost prohibitive, and could impact the ability of major intersections to process traffic safely and efficiently. Pedestrian signal phase timing should be decided upon by practicing traffic engineers on a case by case basis. At location where slower waking speeds are necessary, traffic engineers can make the necessary timing changes. However, to require timing based on slower walking speeds at every intersection risks adding to congestions, crashes and driver frustration.
• On-Street Parking (1102.14,1109) As written, it appears that a handicapped space would have to be provided for each block face where parking is allowed. This would mean residential neighborhoods too. I doubt this was the intent and there ought to be language to clarify this. The requirement for one space per block face seems excessive. It ought to take into consideration block lengths and parking spaces on the block. In is especially excessive in North Carolina where motorists with handicapped placards are allowed to park in any legal parking spaces for as long a necessary, without regard for the time limits. On any given day, along several block faces, in our downtown, one can find parking space after parking space, occupied by vehicles with handicapped placards. These vehicles belong to workers and they arrive first thing in the morning and remain all day. The idea of a 5' aisle along side a handicapped on-street space, means that a 12' area (the equivalent of on traffic lane) must be constructed in each block face. In most areas, this would eliminate the sidewalk.
• Curb Ramps and Blended Transitions (1102.6, 1104) and
Surfaces ( 1104.3.3) When doing projects such as widening sidewalks on an
existing road it might be hard to
completely eliminate access covers, manholes or other appurtenances in the curb ramps, landings, blended transitions, and gutter areas within the pedestrian access route.
• Pedestrian Crossings (1105) Cross Slopes (1105.2.2) - The 1:48 maximum
requirement is stricter than AASHTO recommendations. The AASHTO book, “A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets”, 2001 recommends the maximum grade at an intersection to be 3% which would be 1:33. Most communities probably have street standards that follow AASHTO guidelines.
• Roundabouts (1105.6) and Roundabouts Separation (1105.6.1) The requirement to install barriers at each roundabout where pedestrian crossings are prohibited is inconsistent. Barriers are not required at other locations where crossings are prohibited. The notion that each leg of every roundabout should have pedestrian signals is unreasonable. In many cases, roundabouts are installed, in residential areas, as traffic calming devices. A requirement to install pedestrian signals at every roundabout would be cost prohibitive and would result in the installation of a large number of traffic signals that do not meet MUTCD warrants. With respect to roundabouts separation, it does not seem necessary to provide continuous barriers when the curb itself has been a sufficient indication of prohibiting pedestrian crossing.
• Turn Lanes at Intersections (1105.7) If the intent of this suggestion is that every slip lane have traffic signals, the idea needs to be re thought. Right and left-turn slip lanes are often present at intersections that do not have or need traffic signals, the cost and the installation of signals where not warranted by the MUTCD make this poor suggestion. The signalization of slip lanes at signalized intersections ought to be made by a traffic engineer working in conjunction with the disabled community.
• Bus Route Identification (11027.1) This section appears to require that all bus stop signs to be printed in Braille as well as conventional lettering. The City has over 2,400 places were buses may stop to pick up passengers which means that this requirement alone will cost the City at least $100,000.
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