Special Report: Accessible Public Rights-of-Way Planning and Design for Alterations

Source: Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee

The public right-of-way is a complex space serving multiple users and functions. The sidewalk and street crossing network is the basic unit of pedestrian mobility and its surfaces support all of us -- from children to elders -- in both pleasant and inclement weather. Over the last decade, roadway design principles have been expanded to include pedestrian travel accommodations that are increasingly being sought in residential neighborhoods and commercial centers in suburban and urban development. Designs are now expected to reflect equity and context and to balance pedestrian and vehicular use. Our extensive system of existing roadways is constantly being improved. The vast majority of work in the public right-of-way environment is reconstruction, alteration work, not new construction. The bulk of public works funds are used to maintain and to make changes in those existing environments, rather than to create new facilities. Each altered element must be accessible to and usable by people who have disabilities, to the maximum extent feasible. Integrating accessible features in planned alterations projects requires an understanding of both regulatory and usability concepts. This technical assistance publication has been developed to provide guidance in the planning and design of pedestrian improvements constructed as part of an alteration project. Its text, illustrations, and case studies aim to expand the reader's body of knowledge in accessible right-of-way design.

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