Also added to this list of needs should be the issue of handicapped parking and
the misuse of perpetrators. Accessible parking is a hot bed issue however, it
places greater stress and frustration on individuals using wheelchairs to park
and gain access to many communities.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed Public Rights of Way
Guidelines. The guidelines are vital to insure that persons with disabilities
have an equal opportunity to participate in the community.
I wish to express my support for the adoption of these guidelines. Of particular
importance are the following proposed guidelines which I
1. Section 1102.3. Alternate Circulation Path. The proposed guideline requires
an alternate circulation path whenever the existing sidewalk is blocked by
construction, alteration, maintenance or other temporary conditions. This will
insure that people with disabilities will not be denied access to the public
sidewalks for the duration of the construction project which can last for years.
2. Section 1102.10. Stairs. The proposal to require a 2-inch visually
contrasting strip along each tread nosing is very important for persons with
visual impairments. Especially in low lighting conditions, unmarked stair treads
are a severe danger to persons with low vision.
3. Section 1102.12. Vertical Access. The proposal to require that vertical
access elevators and lifts remain unlocked is vital. This will insure that
access is as readily available as it to the general public.
Experience has shown that locked elevators and lifts in effect deny access to
people with disabilities.
4. Section 1102.14. On-Street Parking. The proposed requirement that at least
one accessible on-street parking space be provided for each block face is
absolutely necessary to insure that people with disabilities are able to have
equal access to parking.
5. Section 1103.4. Cross Slope. The proposal to require a maximum cross slope of
1:48 or 2.08 percent is necessary to insure that sidewalks are usable to persons
with disabilities. A 3 percent cross slope is twice as hard to use as a 2
percent cross slope. Cross slopes greater than 2 percent cause permanent and
debilitating damage to tendons and joints.
6. Section 1103.8. Changes in Level. Requiring that changes in level can not
occur more frequently than every 30 inches is critically important and will
insure that designers and builders will not use the allowed changes in level to
occur every few inches in order to avoid building ramps.
7. Section 1104.3.2. Detectable Warnings. The proposed guideline to require
Detectable Warnings or truncated domes at curb ramps is vitally important to
people with visual impairments. Truncated domes are necessary to insure that
persons with visual impairments are able to detect where the sidewalk stops and
the street begins. By requiring that the truncated domes be in a line and widely
spaced, wheelchair users will be able to wheel across the domes without
8. Section 1105.2.2. Cross Slope. The proposal to require that crosswalks not
have a cross slope greater than 1:48 or 2.08 percent is critical to insuring
that people with disabilities can cross vehicular ways safely, quickly and
without the physical damage that ensues when trying to traverse a cross slope
greater than 2 percent.
9. Section 1105.3. Pedestrian (Universal Path User: See comment on definition
below.) Signal Phase Timing. Requiring that cross walk signals allow time not
only to cross the street but to ascend the opposite curb ramp is essential to
the safety of persons with disabilities. However, time should be provided to
allow the person to descend the curb ramp also. Otherwise, a person with a
disability will have to wait at the bottom of the curb ramp in the street for
the light to change in order to cross the street before the signal changes
10. Section 1105.5.3. Overpass and Underpass Approach. Requiring an elevator to
provide accessibility where sidewalks cross overpasses and underpasses that
create a rise in the sidewalk greater than five feet is essential to insure that
people with disabilities will not be barred from using the sidewalks by the
difficulty in ascending more than five feet. Most people with mobility
disabilities do not have the stamina to ascend more than five feet at a time.
11. Section 1105.6.1. Roundabouts Separation. Requiring a continuous barrier
along the street side of sidewalk where people with visual impairments will be
precluded from inadvertently entering the vehicular way in "roundabouts" is
essential for their safety.
12. Section 1106.2. Signals. It is essential for the safety of persons with
visual impairments that this section be adopted. Requiring audible and
vibrotactile indications of the WALK interval at signalized intersections
provides the same opportunities and safety provided for the general public. Lack
of audible and vibrotactile indicators where the general public is provided
signalized intersections is discrimination and precludes people with visual
impairments from the use of the public right of way.
13. Section 1108.1. Detectable Warnings. Requiring truncated domes to be aligned
in a grid pattern is necessary to allow the wheels of wheelchair users to travel
over them without difficulty.
14. Sections 1111.4 and 1111.6. Barricades. It is essential for the safety of
persons with disabilities, especially those with visual impairments, that the
proposed guideline require a solid wall or fence for barricades to separate the
sidewalk from adjacent construction sites, drop-offs, openings and other
hazards, as proposed.
The following guidelines should be amended in order to insure that persons with
disabilities have equal protection and access in public right of way:
1. Definition: Pedestrian Access Route. The proposed guidelines state that the
accessible portion of the public right of way sidewalk will be termed the
"pedestrian access route." These recommended guidelines represent a profound
change in the way the public environment will be built. To continue the use of
the antiquated term "pedestrian" to describe the new environment that will for
the first time recognize the needs of all of the public is to risk a
continuation of the same mind set that has excluded people with disabilities for
centuries. We have replaced our antiquated and damaging labels such as
"handicapped," "crippled and "incurables" with the phrase "people with
disabilities." We did so because we recognized the power of language and how
people are damaged by negative, misleading and inadequate labels. Let us now
replace "pedestrian access route" with the phrase "universal path" or
"circulation path," (a term used frequently in the proposed guidelines), to
describe the new accessible public right of way. The phrases "universal path
users" or "circulation path users" should be used to identify the entire user
group. We are building a whole new public environment and we need the right
tools for the job.
2. Sections 1102.5.1 and 1102.5.2. Protrusion Limits and Post-Mounted Objects.
The proposed guidelines allow objects with leading edges less than 27 inches in
height to project into the circulation path. People with visual impairments who
use canes usually do not swing their canes as high as 27 inches in order to
detect a barrier and can be severely hurt as a result of these proposed
guidelines. The guidelines should be amended to require that only objects with
leading edges more than six inches above the ground can project into the
3. Section 1103.7. Surface Gaps at Rail Crossings. The proposed guideline allow
2.5 to 3 inch wide gaps where a circulation route crossing commuter and train
rails. Such gaps are sure to entrap the wheels of wheelchairs and lives will be
lost. The U.S. Access Board should demand immediate development and use of gap
closures for where circulation routes cross rails.
4. Sections 122.214.171.124 and1126.96.36.199. Curb Ramp Landings. Curb ramp landings
where a change of direction is required must be 60 by 60, as is required in the
current Americans with Disabilities Act Access Guidelines (ADAAG.). See ADAAG
4.2.3. The proposed public-right-of-way guidelines allow a landing at curb ramps
that is 48 inches by 48 inches, which is too small to allow people in
wheelchairs to change directions as will be required at many curb ramps. The 48
inches by 48 inches for landings is particularly inadequate for the larger
scooters which are used in the outdoor environment.
5. Section 1104.3.6. Counter Slopes. The slope of gutter at the bottom of a curb
ramp creates a trough which can cause wheelchair mobile people to be thrown from
their wheelchairs. The Public Rights of Way Access Advisory Committee proposed
that the resulting combination of the gutter slope and the curb ramp slope not
equal more than 11 percent.
That is, if the gutter is 5 percent slope, then the curb ramp cannot be more
than 6 percent slope. However, the U.S. Access Board did not follow the
recommendation of the committee. I strongly urge you to adopt the 11 percent
maximum sum for the addition of the gutter and curb ramp slopes in order to
insure that not only wheelchair users, but users of the longer scooters will not
be damaged by the trough created by the connecting gutters and curb ramps.
6. Section 1107.4.2. Multiple Telephones. The proposed guidelines require only
one wheelchair accessible telephone and only one telephone with a TTY at a bank
of telephones. This means that people with disabilities have no other telephones
available when the accessible telephones are out of order. Accessible telephones
are accessible to many users. Providing only one accessible telephone is
inadequate and not equitable. Please amend the guidelines to require that 50
percent of telephones in a bank of telephones be accessible.
7. Section 1107.5 Public Toilet Facilities. The Public Rights of Way Access
Advisory Committee recommended to the Board that toilet facilities in the
outdoor environment have 48 inches of clear floor space in front of the toilet.
This was recommended because the current ADAAG standards do not provide for a
toilet stall large enough to accommodate people in larger wheelchairs and
scooters. Particularly in the outdoor environment, more people with mobility
disabilities use scooters and need to be able to use the public toilet
Please follow the recommendation of the committee and amend the guidelines to
require toilet stalls that are usable by persons who use larger wheelchairs and
scooters. This will be particularly important for the increasing aging
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Sheila Y. Milan