Robert N. Herman
|October 28, 2002|
COMMENTS OF THE
PARALYZED VETERANS OF AMERICA
These comments are submitted on behalf of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) in response to an Access Board request for comments regarding its draft guidelines addressing accessibility in the public right-of-way. PVA fully supports the Board’s guidelines and encourages the Board to proceed quickly to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking.
PVA is a congressionally chartered veterans service organization with over 20,000 members, all of whom are veterans with spinal cord injury or spinal cord dysfunction and individuals with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Virtually all PVA members use wheelchairs for mobility and it is on their behalf that PVA for many years has participated in the Board’s various rulemakings to improve and enhance accessibility. In PVA’s view, the Board’s draft guidelines are well written and require only minimal comments. These comments will proceed in order by section number.
Section 1101.3 defines Public Right-of-Way as “land or property . . . that is acquired for or devoted to transportation purposes.” This definition should be clarified to make clear that it applies not only in the strict vehicular sense but also includes all pedestrian facilities appurtenant thereto.
Section 1104.2.3 and 1104.3 set forth the technical standard for blended transitions. A blended transition is one design option for connecting pedestrian access routes with crosswalks. The Access Board should clarify that blended transitions, as it envisions them, are different from and much safer than a similar design currently in widespread use. In the latter design, the sidewalk gradually flares down to the street on the radius corner but is not connected to a landing space at the bottom that is wholly within a marked crossing. Blended transitions as portrayed in the graphic included in the draft guidelines, are required to have a bottom landing that keeps wheelchair users from having to wait in the street for a traffic-crossing signal.
Section 1105.3 requires pedestrian signal phase timing to be calculated according to a walking speed of three feet per second. PVA has concerns about the appropriateness of using three feet per second as a benchmark for measuring the safe crossing speed of manual wheelchair users and would be interested in any clarification the Access Board might offer as to the benchmark’s derivation.
Section 1105.5 would require elevator access where the rise of a ramped approach to a pedestrian overpass exceeds 60 inches. PVA does not object to the use of 60 inches of elevation change as an appropriate cut-off for requiring an elevator but does urge the Access Board to clarify that the use of an elevator after the cut-off point is in addition to, and not in lieu of, a ramp. PVA does not support the use of an elevator instead of a ramp to reach an overpass. The Board should also clarify that elevators to pedestrian overpasses shall be independently operable at all times.
Robert N. Herman
Senior Advocacy Attorney
Paralyzed Veterans of America
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