Accessible Public Rights-of-Way

Thursday, April 1, 2021
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

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Ensuring access to public streets and sidewalks can be a challenge since new guidelines for accessible public rights-of-way have not yet been finalized under the ADA. This webinar will review available resources in the interim, namely the guidelines that the Access Board previously proposed for public rights-of-way and shared use paths. Presenters will discuss common issues and solutions, as well as review proposed requirements for sidewalks and street crossings, curb ramps and blended transitions, detectable warnings, pedestrian signals, on-street parking, street furniture, transit stops, and other components of public rights-of-way and shared use paths.

Session Materials

Continuing Education Recognition Available

Certificate Credit hours
California Architects Board 1.5
Certificate of Attendance 1.5
ICC 1.5


Juliet Shoultz, Transportation Engineer, Office of Technical and Information Services

Scott Windley, Accessibility Specialist, Office of Technical and Information Services, U.S. Access Board

Questions for presenters:

1 Are we going to see movement on getting the PROWAG adopted as a Standard?
2 I hate to admit to being 7 years behind, but I am, and I am confused as to what document is the current draft PROWAG and where to find it on the website. Is it the 2013 version with shared use paths that I found on the website one day but I can't find now? That version is much shorter than the 2011 version I had been using. Was it just the rule making comments and responses that were dropped, or was it something else? Is there a list somewhere identifying what was added regarding shared use paths? Thanks
3 When is ADA compliance required in trails/walking pathways when the natural grade/slope / topography is an issue? I'm working on several public trail projects in environmentally sensitive areas where paving and/or grading is problematic due to sensitive environments (wetlands, etc.).
4 If street parking is provided by a municipality, what are the requirements to provide accessible parking on the street? we have street parking in our residential neighborhoods(not permitted or metered) and in our commercial districts. Is the best location for on-street ADA parking the first spot from the accessible curb cut?
5 Could you hone in on Access Board recommendations for shared use areas such as adjacent bike lanes and pedestrian facilities? Especially where they are flush similar materials? What are best practices for delineating between these uses to help blind pedestrians navigate?
6 Please provide specific guidelines on when truncated domes are required at sidewalks. We have a facility in a downtown urban area with multiple crossing bus routes, but not every corner or driveway apron is at the transit stop. And, what are the requirements for truncated domes as the sidewalk crosses a driveway entrance, for example a parking garage vehicle entrance.
7 The US Access Board invested in research to define acceptable levels of roughness of sidewalks for wheelchair users per the roughness index defined in ASTM E3028 Standard Practice for Computing Wheelchair Pathway Roughness Index as Related to Comfort, Passability, and Whole Body Vibrations from Longitudinal Profile Measurements. Will acceptance criteria for roughness be incorporated into ADA design guidelines? Or will such criteria be advisory text?
8 Are construction tolerances being considered as part of the guidance?
9 PROWAG R302.5.1 Pedestrian Street says the grade is limited to 5%. But we have many street grades that exceed 5% and the street crossing is continuing in line with the sidewalk, which is allowed to meet street grade. Can this proposed provision be amended to match street grade?
10 In addition to anything on the timeline for PROWAG adoption, What is the latest in terms of requiring or suggesting the inclusion of Accessible Pedestrian Signals?
11 Are dual curb ramps required at each curb return if it serves 2 separated pedestrian crossings?
12 Could you please clarify the meaning of R304.2.3 Flared Sides. "Where a pedestrian circulation path crosses the curb ramp, flared sides shall be sloped 10 percent maximum, measured parallel to the curb line." Q: Does this mean that the slope of the flared side is to be measured relative to true horizontal? or does it mean measured relative to the slope of the gutter? I surmise it was intended to mean the flare is to be measure relative to the slope of the gutter because there is no stated maximum required length for the flared side. A maximum required length would seem necessary because on steep streets the flare length would be impossibly long or may not be able to ever catch grade.
13 What is the most recent best practice design for a mid-block park entrance across a two-way street?
14 How do you handle reconstruction of sidewalk in a downtown area where slopes from business entrances to top of street curb are outside of the 2% cross-slope threshold? Is it considered better to: 1. Create an additional step at the business entrance. 2. Slope the sidewalk up to the business entrance and minimize infringement into the Pedestrian Access Route (PAC). 3. Construct a "second curb" at the back of the original street curb as a second "step up" to sidewalk grade. 4. Is another option available? Please note, all options assume a minimum 5' wide ADA compliant PAC remains after construction of steps, slopes, or curb.
15 Is it ever acceptable to have curb ramp slopes be negative? i.e. sloped away from the street or roadway? I have worked on projects where the side street grade falls steeply away from the main roadway and sometimes the terrace and roadway side slopes also fall away from the roadway. Requiring curb ramps to have positive slopes in those situations could make sidewalk grades along that side street even steeper than the grade of that side street. I understand the desire to prevent water from draining down the curb ramp and prevent ponding of water on the level landing if it is below the main roadway or side street grades. If those drainage issues can be overcome, are there restrictions to negative curb ramp slopes?
16 Are the new PROWAG rules able to be applied to Private Streets which are open to public access? We have several private streets which have a public access covenant but are not within a public dedicated right of way. Are sidewalks which parallel the curb still able to follow the street grade, or does this rule require all private streets with sidewalks to be designed at less than 5% running slope?
17 Can the rule allowing the maximum curb ramp length of 15' where the street grade would make the ramp greater than 12:1 also be applied to private streets with public access (no dedicated ROW)?
18 Can you please speak to the requirements and expectations of R304.5.3 and R304.5.4? In particular, when considering minimum asphalt slope requirements (2%), gutter pan slope (8.3%), we find it is nearly impossible to meet the cross-slope and counter-slope requirements. It would be very helpful to hear ideas on techniques and approaches that are envisioned to meet these requirements.
19 In a public street, if the existing sidewalk width is 35 inches wide in front of an existing street light (from top back of curb to edge of street light anchor plate and no parkway in between) than cannot be relocated back due to limited right-of-way behind it, can we use part of the curb of a two foot curb & gutter (6 inch width of stand up curb with 6 inches from flowline to top of curb) as part of the minimum 36 inch pedestrian access route width that is required?
20 Can you discuss parallel on-street parking? Especially regarding the modification of existing standard corners and adjacent accessible parking spaces with no access aisle to corners with curb extensions (bulb-outs) and parking spaces with no access aisle. Can the parking spot adjacent to the corner still be designated as an accessible spot (it would not have an access aisle or ramp and people existing the vehicle on the curb side would potentially have to walk around the curb extension to get to the corner curb ramp)?
21 What are the pros/cons of non-directional and/or diagonal curb ramps? When are they appropriate to use? Should a directional curb ramp for each legal pedestrian crossing be included on each corner?
22 We have a very busy 4 lane arterial roadway with several streets coming into it at non-signalized T-intersections. Are we required to install directional curb ramps crossing the arterial roadway? It seem very dangerous to encourage someone to cross at the T-intersection when they can go a few blocks down to a signalized intersection. If Yes, do we have to install a directional curb ramp crossing the arterial roadway on both corners of the T-intersection or will one be enough?
23 What surface/surface treatment should be used to designate an area as non-traversable or a place you should not walk (i.e. hardscape buffer, top of bicycle ramp)?
24 Please address diagonal ramps and their limited use. Also, discuss crosswalks where streets are over 2% longitudinal grade.
25 Address the access and parking for CBUs in the right of way.

Session Questions

This session is accepting questions from registered users. After you have registered to participate in this session you can submit your questions on your Account Manager page. Please note: the number of questions will be limited and submissions will be closed well before the session starts to provide time to prepare answers.