[mountainstate] Fw: [leadership] ACB's Comments on Access Board' ANPRM ConcerningShared Use Path Accessibility Guidelines
thedogmom63 at frontier.com
Fri Jun 24 12:38:58 EDT 2011
From: Eric Bridges
To: leadership at acb.org
Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 4:12 PM
Subject: [leadership] ACB's Comments on Access Board' ANPRM ConcerningShared Use Path Accessibility Guidelines
Below are comments that ACB has filed with the Access Board in response to its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) concerning shared use path guidelines.
The deadline for the public to submit comments is June 27.
Instructions for submission of comments are beneath this message.
Link to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemakinghttp://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-03-28/html/2011-7156.htm. Submit comments Shared Use Path Accessibility Guidelines by any of the following methods: You may submit by any of the following means: Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Regulations.gov ID for this docket is ATBCB-2011-0002. E-mail: sharedusepathrule at access-board.gov. Include docket number 2011-02 or RIN number 3014-AA41 in the subject line of the message. Fax: 202-272-0081.
American Council of the Blind
submitted to the
Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
in response to the
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
published in the
March 28, 2011
76 FR 17064
Shared Use Path Accessibility Guidelines
36 CFR Chapter XI
Docket No. 2011-02
June 15, 2011
For further information, contact
Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs
American Council of the Blind
2200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 650
Arlington, VA 22201
ebridges at acb.org
The American Council of the Blind (ACB), is a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of blind and visually impaired people throughout the United States. Based in the Washington D.C. area, ACB has tens of thousands of members from across this country who belong to more than 70 state and special interest affiliates. The nation's leading blindness organization, ACB represents members from all walks of life who display interests in a variety of activities including business, education, the arts, to name a few. Its special interest groups are comprised of, among others, teachers, government employees, attorneys, students, information technologists, and artists. ACB works to ensure that blind and visually impaired individuals can safely and independently travel on public rights of way.
Introduction and Background
ACB's position is that all shared use paths present an unacceptable safety risk to pedestrians who are blind or visually-impaired unless there is a clear separation between pedestrians and other motorized and non-motorized vehicles including bicyclists. Blind and visually-impaired pedestrians are not going to be able to hear the sounds of oncoming non-pedestrian traffic in time to move to safety even when oncoming traffic is moving at a relatively slow speed. Lack of warning may occur because of traffic noise from a parallel highway, the relative quiet of bicyclists and skaters, and or the inability of other users of the path to see oncoming pedestrians due to a curve of a shared use path.
Moreover, the guidelines propose a minimum width of only 5 feet, assuming that most paths would be 8 feet to 10 feet. (See our comment to "4. Width", below) This minimum width makes it very difficult to avoid collisions or possibly dangerous movements off of the path to avoid such collisions. The guidelines must recognize that blind and visually-impaired persons may not be walking alone. We may be walking side-by-side with or without a sighted guide, using a guide dog on the handler's left side or two individuals with mobility devices wheeling side by side. These common side-by-side travel configurations will require a clearance width of at least 6 feet. This would potentially require oncoming users either to spring off the path to their right or into oncoming users on the left, to avoid a collision. Neither alternative is safe.
Orientation and wayfinding are also complicated by shared use paths. Blind and visually-impaired persons find it difficult to judge which side of the path they are walking on thereby creating a risk of collision resulting from on coming bicyclists or in-line skaters not expecting to find a blind pedestrian who is unaware of their existence, walking directly toward them on a collision course.
For these reasons, ACB strongly recommends that two separate paths be created, one exclusively for pedestrians and the second for bicyclists, inline skaters, equestrians and the like. (ACB recognizes that persons with disabilities using wheelchairs or other mobility devices are entitled by the ADA to use either path.) These two paths should be clearly separated by landscaping and appropriate signage complying with Section 703 (tactile/visual). Separating pedestrians from other users also can be critical in urban areas where shared path usage may be large due to the high volume of potential users in a concentrated area.
Concerns over safety also may negatively affect the use of shared use paths by persons who are blind or visually-impaired. Our population is in need of accessible exercise and recreation options, however, the very real threat to safety raised by the significant probability of collision on shared use paths renders this approach to good health and fitness less than viable for the blind community.
If a separate path for pedestrians is not feasible due to a lack of available space, the Access Board should consider how to Mark travel lanes on shared use paths. Some form of tactile notification should be used to delineate the center of the path so that blind and visually-impaired users do not stray into oncoming traffic or wander off the path entirely.
Question 5. What would be considered a sufficient separation between a shared use path and a roadway, or outside border of a roadway, where it may not be necessary for the shared use path to follow the grade of the roadway?
Response: ACB recommends that there be a minimum 6 foot buffer preferably landscaped or decorative fencing/barrier complying with the Federal Highway Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices 2009 edition between the shared use path and the street.
A landscaped buffer can provide the following benefits:
1. Planted trees in the buffer can provide shading over the shared use path
2. The buffer with trees could provide some noise reduction benefits to adjacent properties, and
3. Provide a greater sense of safety to bicyclists and pedestrians from the possibility of being struck by a fast moving motorized vehicle."
Question 7. Is there a need to provide additional warnings or information to bicyclists regarding potential conflicts with other shared use paths users, including pedestrians with disabilities?
Response: ACB recommends that there is signage along the shared use path that has text with equally equivalent graphics stating the operating rules of the path, e.g. bicycle speed, where pedestrians with and without disabilities are to walk/wheel, etc. Also stenciled on the surface of the pathway should be text that tells bicyclists the maximum speed they are to travel and where pedestrians are expected to travel along the pathway. For example, the notification might read:
Joggers & Walkers
Use Left Shoulder
Question 10. Should the accessibility guidelines for shared use paths be included in the same document as the accessibility guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way?
Response: ACB believes that the accessibility guidelines for shared use paths ultimately should be included in the same document as the Public Rights-of-Way Guidelines (PROWAG) but only when the two Guidelines may be codified together in the Code of Federal Regulations. ACB does not wish the Access Board to delay publication of a final PROWAG because of the critical importance of this Guideline which already has been delayed for too many years. Moreover, PROWAG is further along in the rulemaking process than the shared use path guideline; for purposes of the rulemaking process, they should be allowed to proceed separately so that each is published as a separate final Guideline. The shared use path guideline can be integrated into PROWAG at a later date such as during codification.
Comments to Sections within the Shared Use Path Document
The guidelines propose a minimum width of 5 feet for a shared use path. By way of explanation, the ANPRM notes: "The Board is considering requiring accessible shared use paths to provide at least 5 feet minimum width to address those rare circumstances where the AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide is not applied so that sufficient space is provided for wheelchair turning and to allow wheelchair users and others to pass one another.
The Access Board's assumption that civil engineers will design paths to exceed the minimum, let alone provide the extra clearance needed by our community is misplaced. Narrower paths will be less costly to build and to maintain and these monetary factors alone, particularly when public funds are so scarce, Make a 5' minimum clearance unacceptable. As noted above, blind and visually-impaired persons often walk nearly abreast with another person requiring at least 6' clearance and the same width is also required by persons using guide dogs. These facts alone warrant the establishment of a wider minimum width of at least 12' unless there is a requirement for a separate path for pedestrians. The importance of channelizing the traffic flow on a multi-user path also requires additional space to account for the width of tactical markings denoting the center of the path which are necessary for orientation and way finding.
6. Protruding Objects
"Post-Mounted Objects. Where objects are mounted on free-standing
posts or pylons and the objects are 27 inches (685 mm) minimum and 80
inches (2030 mm) maximum above the finish surface or ground, the
objects shall not overhang shared use paths more than 4 inches (100 mm)
beyond the post or pylon base measured 6 inches (150 mm) minimum above
the finish surface or ground. Where a sign or other obstruction is
mounted between posts or pylons and the clear distance between the
posts or pylons is greater than 12 inches (305 mm) the lowest edge of
sign or obstruction shall be 27 inches (685 mm) maximum or 80 inches (2
m) minimum above the finish surface or ground."
ACB requests that the above language in 6. Protruding Objects, paragraph 3 be amended as follows:
Post-Mounted Objects. Where objects are mounted on free-standing posts or pylons and the objects are 27 inches (685 mm) minimum and 80 inches (2030 mm) maximum above the finish surface or ground, the objects shall not overhang shared use paths more than 4 inches (100 mm) beyond the post or pylon base measured 6 inches (150 mm) minimum above the finish surface or ground. Where a sign or other obstruction is mounted between posts or pylons and the clear distance between the posts or pylons is greater than 12 inches (305 mm) the lowest edge of sign or obstruction shall be 27 inches (685 mm) maximum or 80 inches (2m) minimum above the finish surface or ground. There shall be a rail/bar placed between the posts or pylons mounted 6 inches above the finish surface or ground.
Wherever a sign or other obstruction is mounted on posts, pylons or other architectural elements used as mounting surfaces protrude from one of these architectural elements and the bottom edge of the sign or other obstruction is at less than 80 inches (2032 mm) above the finished floor or ground level, the edges of such signs or obstructions shall be rounded or eased and the corners shall have a minimum radius of 0.125 inches.
Signs shall be provided with raised characters and Braille complying with Section 703 so as to be accessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired. Characters shall be white on a dark background.
In lieu of providing the brailled and raised lettering noted above, or in addition to the brailled and raised lettering noted above, audible versions of these signs should be provided.
In lieu of providing the brailled and raised lettering noted above, or in addition to the brailled and raised lettering noted above, there should be used emerging technologies such as an audible sign systems using infrared transmitters and receivers which are referred to in Section 810.6
Justification: Whenever there are any signs or obstructions below 80 inches within the path of travel, such signs or obstructions must have rounded or eased corners to avoid injury to a person who is blind or with a visual impairment should they walk into this protruding object.
Signs are often not accessible to persons with visual impairments. The presumption that a person with a visual impairment is always escorted by someone who is sighted and that person is willing to read the text to them is an incorrect presumption. Persons who are visually impaired or blind require independent and unfiltered access to the information provided by these signs.
Should it be impractical to place large amounts of text into raised characters and Braille and it is more practical to use audio technology to provide the equivalent information to a person who is blind or visually impaired, this should be done. There still would be a need for raised print and Braille signage required to instruct the reader as to what they need to do to get the audible version of the information.
8. Intersections and Curb Ramps
Detectable Warning Surfaces
Truncated Domes. Detectable warning surfaces shall consist of truncated domes aligned in a square or radial grid pattern.
Dome Size. Truncated domes in detectable warning surfaces shall have a base diameter of 0.9 inch (23mm) minimum to 1.4 inches (36 mm) maximum, a top diameter of 50 percent of the base diameter minimum to 65 percent of the base diameter maximum, and a height of 0.2 inch (5mm).
Dome Spacing. Truncated domes in a detectable warning surface shall have a center-to-center spacing of 1.6 inches (41 mm) minimum and 2.4 inches (61 mm) maximum, and a base-to-base spacing of 0.65 inches (17 mm) minimum, measured between the most adjacent domes.
Comment: Substitute specifications for truncated domes size and spacing as follows.
The detectable warning surface shall consist of a durable, slip-resistant material, having a surface texture composed of raised truncated domes aligned in a square grid pattern with a diameter of 0.9 inches (22.88mm's) at the base, tapering to 0.45 inches (11.4 mm's) at the top, and a height of 0.2 inches (5.08mm's). The 0.2 inch dome height shall be measured from the highest point on top of a dome to the highest point of the surface between the domes.
Dome Spacing. Truncated domes in a detectable warning surface shall have a center-to-center spacing of 2.4 inches (61 mm) measured horizontally and vertically.
Justification: ACB believes the proposed standard allows too much latitude in the dimensions of the truncated domes.
A more definitive standard is essential to ensure the consistency/standardization of detectable warning truncated domes, which is needed for optimum underfoot detection.
For many years these dimensions have been in use in Japan, the United States, the State of California. Experience to date indicates that surfaces comprised of domes having .9 inch base diameter and .45 inch top diameter have not resulted in excessive complaints or liability litigation.
Further, it has been found by researchers, Bentzen, B.L.; Nolin, T.L.; Easton, R.D.; Desmarais, L. & Mitchell, P.A. (1994). Detectable warning surfaces: Detectability by individuals with visual impairments, and safety and negotiability for individuals with physical impairments. Final report DOT-VNTSC-FTA-94-4 and FTA-MA-06-0201-94-2. U. S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, and Project ACTION, National Easter Seal Society, that the small domes that have .9 inch base diameter with a .45 inch top diameter dimension, are more detectable underneath the foot than larger diameter domes.
Our concern is by requiring dome dimensions of having a base diameter of up to a maximum 1.4 inches (36 mm), a top diameter of up to 65% of the base diameter maximum, with veering dome spacing could potentially result in a surface that will feel flat underfoot if the center-to-center dome spacing is narrow.
The truncated dome, which has a top diameter of 65% of the base diameter maximum will exert less pounds of pressure per square inch felt underneath the foot when compared to a top diameter of 50% of the base diameter, thus reducing the potential of detecting each of the individual domes particularly with thick sole footwear.
Allowing a specification that permits the top diameter to be 65% of the base diameter will result in a truncated dome having a profile that is almost vertical, which could increase the potential of tripping and hindering the movement of wheeled mobility devices.
The additional specification we are proposing for measuring the truncated dome height is to ensure that a height of 0.2 inches (5 mm) is consistently maintained throughout the detectable warning surface regardless of the means for providing a slip resistant surface e.g., raised field dots. If this specification does not exist, field dots or equivalent in the area between truncated domes will reduce the dome height by their own height measurement, thus making the dome less detectable.
We would like to stress that uniformity and consistency are critical for an effective detectable warning surface. Therefore, it is crucial that strict language that specifies all dome size dimensions must be incorporated in this section and any associated figure to ensure that effective detectable warning surfaces are installed in the environment.
In addition, ACB recommends that there not be a dome center-to-center spacing and size measurement range.
We would like to amend this section by striking out, "a center-to-center spacing of 1.6 inches (41 mm) minimum and 2.4 inches (61 mm) maximum" and replace with "a center-to-center spacing of 2.4 inches (5.0 mm)".
The Shared Pathway document's proposed range for center-to-center spacing like dome size is not supported by scientific research, but is based on the range of products that existed ten years ago that were available from detectable warning manufacturers.
Our position is based on Japanese research "Report of fundamental research on standardization relating to tactile tiles for guiding the visually impaired", 1998 summarized in Detectable Warnings: Synthesis of U.S. and International Practice, B.L. Bentzen, J.M. Barlow and L.S. Tabor, tested nine truncated dome surfaces (detectable warnings, or dot tiles) falling within the range specified in the ADA and ABA, which resulted with only three that were discriminated from linear guiding surfaces (bar tiles). The only three truncated dome surfaces that were found to be discriminable on at least 90% of trials had the following dimensions:
· .9 inch( 22 mm) base diameter with 2.0 inch (50 mm) spacing
· .9 inch( 22 mm) base diameter with 2.4 inch (60 mm) spacing
· inch (28 mm) base diameter with 2.4 inch (60 mm) spacing
Based on the above Japanese research, the nominal 1.67 inches (42.4 mm) minimum up to 2.00 inches (5.0 mm) measurement cannot be considered as a center-to-center spacing specification.
Therefore, the only measurement that can be considered is the .9 inch (22 mm) base diameter with 2.4 inch (60 mm) spacing which provides greater underfoot detectability and greater ease for wheeled mobility devices to traverse the detectable warning surface.
There are physically fewer domes underneath the foot with 2.4 inch spacing, which increases the detectability of each individual dome. Also, the 2.4 inch (60 mm) center-to-center spacing provides more width for wheelchair users to travel more easily with less bumpiness through the depth of the detectable warning surface.
It is important that a standard for detectable warning surfaces consider not only their detectability, but their discriminability between individual domes.
This position is substantiated in the Assessment of Detectable Warning Devices for Specification Compliance or Equivalent Facilitation, David Spiller and Jordan Multer, US Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration, Final Report, December 1992.
The report states that consistency and standardization in the meaning (caution) and application (e.g., curb ramps, transit boarding platforms, and hazardous vehicular areas) of detectable warnings in its design specifications (width, depth, dome dimensions/spacing, etc.) provide a message that is clear and not open to interpretation. If there is no harmony, this may lead to situations in which the surface is not readily detected, and can lead to incorrect interpretation. The outcome may be an increased likelihood that the blind traveler fails to avoid edge drop-offs or entering hazardous vehicular areas. Consistency is important in facilitating expectations in the general population, including people with disabilities. Consistency in design specifications helps the individual to develop expectations about what constitutes a detectable warning. The 1990 ADA guidelines recognize the importance of this concept in the definition of a detectable warning as "a standardized surface feature." This principle also guides the development of traffic control systems in general (Federal Highway Administration, 2009). The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices recognizes the absolute importance of uniformity as a nationwide objective to achieve effective traffic control results, economy in the manufacture, installation, maintenance and administration of control devices, and as a defense against adverse judgments in tort liability cases.
Thus, it is paramount that there is consistency in the design specifications (width, depth, dome dimensions, dome center-to-center spacing, etc.) and the application in the use of detectable warnings. Providing a range of center-to-center spacing consistency and standardization is lost which compromises detectability and effectiveness.
Location and Alignment of Detectable Warning Surfaces
Paragraph 7: Where the shared use path crosses a roadway or railway, detectable warnings must be provided the full width of the curb ramp or blended transition for a depth of 2 feet.
Comment: The ACB wishes to have the minimum 24 inches specification found in the Revised Draft Guidelines for Accessible Public Rights-of-Way 2005 changed to 36 inches.
Justification: Research has been conducted which addresses concerns about safety of detectable warnings, indicating that detectable warnings on slopes and on generally horizontal surfaces have minimal impact on the safety and ease of travel for persons having physical disabilities (Bentzen, B., Nolin, T., Easton, R., Desmaris, P., and Mitchell, P., 1994; Hauger, et al, 1996).
Research has found that persons who are blind more reliably detected detectable warnings at 30 inches or 36 inches than at 24 inches, 24 inch deep detectable warnings were repeatedly detected on 85-90% of trials (Peck, A. & Bentzen, B., 1987). Additional research analysis shows that 24 to 36 inches of a detectable warning surface are typically required to enable stopping on 90-95% of trials on which the surfaces are detected (Bentzen, B., Nolin, T., Easton, R., Desmarais, L., and Mitchell, P., 1994). The ACB's California affiliate, the California Council of the Blind, has received comments from blind and visually impaired pedestrians that to stop on 100% of approaches on non-resilient detectable warnings (e.g. concrete, ceramic) compared with resilient detectable warnings (e.g. rubber like) requires at least 36 inches depth of detectable warning surface. These pedestrians feel non-resilient detectable warning surfaces are lacking many of the cues (e.g., rebound, contrast of sound on cane contact) needed to adequately detect these warnings which have a depth less than 36 inches.
Consistency in depth of detectable warnings promotes consistent interpretation. Blind pedestrians in any setting of the US should know that when they encounter a detectable warning, they need to stop immediately and check it out, as there is a vehicular or falling hazard immediately ahead. There is very minimal stopping distance with a 24 inch minimum detectable warning surface.
Therefore, the depth of 36 inches detected on 90-95% of trials in multiple experiments is being recommended by ACB.
Justification: Permitting the depth of detectable warnings to be 36 inches will result in standardization and compliance/consistency with the 1990 ADAAG Section 4.29.5 Detectable Warnings at Hazardous Vehicular Areas. However, the adoption of the Revised Draft Guidelines for Accessible Public Rights-of-Way minimum 24 inch specification will result in the loss of regulatory harmony, which will lead to situations in which the detectable warning surface is not readily detected, and can lead to incorrect interpretation. The outcome may be an increased likelihood that the blind traveler fails to avoid rail crossings or entering hazardous vehicular areas.
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