Draft Guidelines on Public Rights-of-Way
Notice of Availability
On June 17,2002, the Board released for public comment draft guidelines on accessible public rights-of-way. The guidelines cover pedestrian access to sidewalks and streets, including crosswalks, curb ramps, street furnishings, parking, and other components of public rights-of-way. The Board’s aim in developing these guidelines is to ensure that access for persons with disabilities is provided wherever a pedestrian way is newly built or altered, and that the same degree of convenience, connection, and safety afforded the public generally is available to pedestrians with disabilities. The guidelines are being developed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which covers access to a wide range of facilities in the public and private sectors, and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), which requires access to certain federally funded facilities. Local jurisdictions and other entities covered by these laws must ensure that the facilities they build or alter are accessible to people with disabilities.
The new provisions would supplement the Board’s ADA and ABA accessibility guidelines by adding a new chapter specific to public rights-of-ways. Currently, these documents, focus primarily on facilities on sites. While they include certain features common to public sidewalks, such as curb ramps, further guidance is necessary in addressing conditions unique to public rights-of-way. Various constraints posed by space limitations at sidewalks, roadway design practices, slope, and terrain raise valid questions on how and to what extent access can be achieved. Access for blind pedestrians at street crossings and wheelchair access to on-street parking are typical of the issues for which additional guidance is needed. The new guidelines address these and other issues.
The draft guidelines are based on recommendations from an advisory committee chartered by the Board. The Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee was composed of 33 members representing disability organizations, public works departments, transportation and traffic engineering groups, design professionals and civil engineers, government agencies, and standards-setting bodies. The committee’s recommendations are contained in a report,"Building a True Community," which was submitted to the Board in January 2001. Since the draft guidelines depart from the advisory committee’s report in several areas, the Board is making an advance copy available for comment by the public, including industry groups, State and local governments, and advisory committee members. Through this release, the Board is also seeking information and feedback, including usability and cost data, for its use in developing a proposed rule, which will provide an additional opportunity for comment in the future. The Board will hold a public meeting on the draft guidelines in Portland, Oregon, on October 8, 2002. The deadline for comments is October 28, 2002.
For further information, contact Scott Windley at (202) 272-0025 (voice), (202) 272-0082 (TTY), firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail).