Category:642 Pedestrian Facilities
From Engineering Policy Guide
MoDOT values the needs of all transportation users, including pedestrians. Safe, convenient and well-designed facilities are essential when pedestrians are in proximity to roadway traffic. The design and installation of pedestrian facilities is to be considered on all projects beginning at the planning stage. The conceptual study should discuss the conditions listed below and how they apply to the project:
- Pedestrian traffic generators are located near the proposed project (i.e., residential neighborhoods, employment centers, shopping centers, schools, parks, libraries, etc.),
- There is evidence of pedestrian traffic along the proposed project,
- The route provides access across a natural or man-made barrier (i.e., bridges over rivers, roadways, railroads or under access-controlled facilities),
- The local jurisdiction is implementing a comprehensive pedestrian policy in the area of the proposed project,
- There is local support through local planning organizations for the provision of pedestrian facilities,
- The local community supports the incorporation of facilities on a particular project.
Pedestrian facilities should be a topic of discussion at all public meetings and a special effort is to be made to contact local groups of non-drivers, such as the disabled community, seniors and schools. Communities and affected disability advocate groups need to be included in the planning and design process. The Missouri Governor’s Council on Disability provides a link to a Directory of Resources. This directory includes a listing of disability groups and advocates that may be contacted for input and can be searched by county.
Numerous strategies are available to provide improved facilities for pedestrians. Typical roadway sections (such as 4-lane major urban roadway,4-lane minor urban roadway and 2-lane minor urban roadway) provide typical sidewalk layouts. Additional design information can be found in AASHTO's Guide For The Planning Design and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities and FHWA's Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Vol I and Vol II. All pedestrian facilities are to be barrier free and and usable by all people to the degree that it is technically feasible. They are to be built to the standards developed by the United States Access Board. These standards are based on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and provided in the Americans with Disabilities Accessibilities Guidelines (ADAAG). Although not a legal standard, best practices in public right of way design are discussed more completely in the draft Public Rights of Way Accessibility Guidelinges (PROWAG). The nonmotorized transportation engineer in Design can provide additional assistance in addressing specific project concerns on a case-by-case basis.
Pedestrian Facilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act
Pedestrian facilities must be accessible to all people to the maximum extent feasible. This includes all facilities owned or built by MoDOT and those that may be built using federal funds administered by MoDOT. Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires the U.S. Access Board (Access Board) to issue minimum guidelines for accessible design requirements for facilities. Those guidelines are the American with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). The U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) use the U.S. Access Board’s guidelines (ADAAG) as a basis to establish legally enforcable accessibility standards. Those federal standards are titled ADA Standards for Accessible Design and are identical in content to ADAAG Sections 1-10. The DOJ and the DOT's ADA Standards for Accessible Design are enforceable under the ADA whereas the U.S. Access Board guidelines are only advisory.
The DOJ's ADA Standards for Accessible Design was developed originally for buildings and sites dealing with facilities and does not clearly address right of way applications. To address this shortcoming, a subcommittee of the Public Rights of Way Access Advisory Committee (PROWAAC) developed draft guidelines for right of way applications, titled Public Right of Way Accessibility Guidelines. Although PROWAG has not been approved by the DOJ or DOT, and therefore those guidelines are not enforceable, a FHWA memorandum dated January 23, 2006, encourages use of the draft guidelines where ADAAG does not clearly address right of way issues. The memorandum specifically states:
- "The Draft Guidelines are not standards until adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The present standards to be followed are the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) standards. However, the Draft Guidelines are the currently recommended best practices, and can be considered the state of the practice that could be followed for areas not fully addressed by the present ADAAG standards. Further, the Draft Guidelines are consistent with the ADA's requirement that all new facilities (and altered facilities to the maximum extent feasible) be designed and constructed to be accessible to and useable by people with disabilities."
Therefore, the guidelines provided herein and in MoDOT standards are based upon the federal requirements contained in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, based on ADAAG. Exceptions will be where the federal standards do not provide specific ADA accessibility aspects/requirements. In those cases, guidelines and best practices will be used based on the proposed PROWAG or other available FHWA guidelines. Where applicable, best practice references will be specifically cited in the guidelines.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Contol Devices has been developed with the cooperation of the Access Board and can be considered the standard for traffic control regulations. Part 4, Chapter 4E specifically addresses traffic signals and Part 6, Chapter 6D addresses work zones. Other sections include pedestrian considerations as needed.
The most important factor in the decision process, where applicable state or federal standards are silent, is to design and install facilities in a reasonable and consistent manner and to document the decision-making process and the final decision.
New Construction vs. Alteration vs. Maintenance
Whether a project is considered new construction, an alteration or maintenance to an existing facility is important in determining how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies. However, it is MoDOT’s policy to provide and upgrade pedestrian accommodations on projects when and where it is possible and appropriate; that is, to “do the right thing.”
Pedestrian facilities are to be considered in all new construction projects and are to be constructed in a barrier-free, ADA-compliant manner. The Federal Highway Administration has provided a flow chart to better illustrate the requirements for ADA compliance within different categories of projects.
|* For the case where an alteration is constructed to the maximum extent technically feasible, documentation of technical infeasibility is required.|
|** When an “undue financial burden” is determined, a written determination is required and must be signed off by the head of the public entity or designee. For the case where an alteration is constructed to the maximum extent feasible, documentation of technical infeasibility is required.|
As noted in the FHWA chart above, all new construction is to be designed and built in full compliance with ADA standards. Any deviation will require a design exception.
Much of the work done by MoDOT is upgrading or altering the existing system. In accordance with ADA, when an alteration is made to a roadway on which pedestrian facilities (sidewalks, pedestrian grade separations, curb ramps, etc.) exist on Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (MHTC) right of way, each altered element or space within the limits or scope of the project shall comply with the applicable requirements for new construction to the maximum extent feasible.
An alteration project is defined as a project that permanently affects the access, traffic flow, geometry or use of a facility. Resurfacing, of any thickness, intended to address the structural capacity of the pavement, is considered an alteration. Other alterations include reconstruction, major rehabilitation, widening, signal installation and upgrades, geometric modification of intersections, and projects of similar scale and effect.
What is “to the maximum extent feasible?” From the PROWAG Section R202.3: "The phrase ‘to the maximum extent feasible,’ … applies to the occasional case where the nature of an existing facility makes it virtually impossible to comply fully with applicable accessibility standards through a planned alteration. In these circumstances, the alteration shall provide the maximum physical accessibility feasible. Any altered features of the facility that can be made accessible shall be made accessible. If providing accessibility in conformance with this section to individuals with certain disabilities (e.g., those who use wheelchairs) would not be feasible, the facility shall be made accessible to persons with other types of disabilities (e.g., those who use crutches, those who have impaired vision or hearing, or those who have other impairments)."
For MoDOT alteration projects:
- At a minimum, within the limits of an alteration project, curb ramps will be installed where a sidewalk crosses a curb and all existing pedestrian facilities disturbed by highway construction will be replaced and made ADA-compliant to the maximum extent feasible.
- Signal projects should be scoped to include curb ramps and ADA-compliant pushbuttons at a minimum. Consideration is to be given to upgrading full intersections to expedite completion of MoDOT’s Transition Plan.
- Any exceptions will be based on technical infeasibility. Documentation of the decision shall be accomplished by way of design exception.
"Maintenance" is any action intended to preserve the system or retard future deterioration. Resurfacing of a total thickness less than 2 in. solely intended to maintain the functional condition of the roadway surface, is considered maintenance. Similarly, milling and subsequent repaving, resulting in no net change of profile grade, is considered maintenance. Other maintenance activities include thin surface treatments, joint repair, pavement patching, shoulder repair, signing, striping, minor signal upgrades and repairs to drainage systems. Basic maintenance tasks do not require bringing adjacent facilities up to current standards.
MoDOT takes its responsibility toward all modes of transportation seriously. For this reason, designers should investigate beyond the written definitions of maintenance and alteration to ensure that significant deficiencies with respect to accessibility are remedied, irrespective of the type of work being performed.
All existing MoDOT facilities that are not currently compliant with ADA standards must be included in MoDOT’s Transition Plan. Those that are not part of an “alteration project” will have to be upgraded to the maximum extent possible in accordance with the Transition Plan. These upgrades may occur as stand alone projects, maintenance, operations or contract projects.
Pedestrian facilities may also be made ADA compliant based on a case-by-case needs assessment. For example, along arterial streets where connecting to sidewalks on city streets will provide a connected network for pedestrian movement. Effort should be made to accommodate requests from disabled pedestrians to remove existing barriers.
For off-system projects and MoDOT permit construction, the department, during its initial meeting or discussion with the owner or owner representative of the project, will identify or restate the ADA obligations for the project. Written notice of areas of noncompliance found beyond MoDOT right of way should be provided to the owner.
Costs for new pedestrian facilities, including right of way, construction and maintenance, should be included in the regular project costs, but may also be funded in partnership with local jurisdictions or by local jurisdictions alone, by Enhancement or Safe Routes to School funds, other non-department sources or any combination of these. State road funding will only be provided for those projects located on MHTC right of way. Enhancement funds cannot be used for maintenance of pedestrian facilities. Pedestrian funding arrangements for design, construction and maintenance must be addressed with a written agreement between MoDOT and a local sponsor and executed prior to the start of construction.
Existing pedestrian facilities disturbed by any MoDOT improvement will be replaced to meet current design standards and will be at MoDOT’s expense. Normal right of way and construction costs for this restoration will be included as a project cost for the proposed improvement.
Agreements with local jurisdictions or others will be used to address funding and maintenance issues for pedestrian facilities constructed on or off of MHTC right of way. Standard form agreements are available on the Chief Counsel's contract webpage. Detailed information concerning the sequence for preparing and executing a project agreement is available in EPG 235.2.3 Project Agreements. The agency responsible for maintenance will be established prior to construction. MoDOT assumes legal liability for pedestrian facilities on MHTC right of way unless this responsibility is addressed by agreement, with MoDOT personnel performing regular inspections to ensure proper maintenance is performed as provided under terms of the agreement. If maintenance is not performed as required by agreement, MoDOT will take necessary steps to ensure proper maintenance is provided with the cost borne in accordance with the agreement.
Sidewalks and steps are only maintained by MoDOT where it is an obligation of the department. Maintenance agreements shall be consulted to determine MoDOT's obligation. Where such delegation has not been specified, adjacent property owners may be required to maintain the walks based on local ordinance, even though they may be on MoDOT right of way or on the right of way of a dedicated street.
Where MoDOT is the adjacent property owner, MoDOT will maintain the sidewalks. However, MoDOT has far reaching responsibilities and maintenance of all transportation facilities must be properly prioritized to meet the demands of the traveling public based on use and safety and with consideration of the available resources.