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When developing temporary traffic control (TTC) plans, the importance of pedestrian access in and around the work zone is often overlooked or underestimated. A basic requirement of work zone traffic control, as provided in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), is that the needs of pedestrians, including those with disabilities, must be addressed in the TTC process. Pedestrians should be provided with reasonably safe, convenient, and accessible paths that replicate as nearly as practical the most desirable characteristics of the existing sidewalks or footpaths. It is essential to recognize that pedestrians are reluctant to retrace their steps to a prior intersection for a crossing, or to add distance or out-of-the-way travel to a destination. This guidance sheet serves to remind TTC designers and construction personnel of the importance of pedestrian access, to stress the need for pedestrian safety, and to offer suggestions that will improve the visibility of pedestrian access.
If pedestrians are permitted to access the work site, designers must anticipate that young, elderly, and persons with disabilities (such as mobility, visual, or hearing impaired) will be traversing the work site, all of whom need a clearly delineated and usable travel path. The first and most important consideration for pedestrians is safety. Pedestrians must be kept in a safe environment on a smooth, well-marked travel path. Other pedestrian needs include access to bus stops (consider the need for temporarily moving the bus stop to improve safety and to accommodate work zone operation), sidewalks, crosswalks, and businesses, as well as lighting at night to allow safe walking through the construction area.
|"When existing pedestrian facilities are disrupted, closed, or relocated in a TTC zone, the temporary facilities shall be detectable and include accessibility features consistent with the features present in the existing pedestrian facility."
–Part 6D, MUTCD
The level of accessibility needed for pedestrians in the TTC zone can be identified by observing existing pedestrian travel patterns and accommodations prior to the start of work and as the work actually progresses. The presence of pedestrians in the area, existing sidewalks, other paths, and facilities such as schools, residences, businesses (shops, supermarkets), community centers, and parks, all indicate that pedestrians are likely to be present in the TTC zone.
One way to inform pedestrians about TTC zones is through the development and deployment of a public outreach campaign. A public outreach campaign is particularly important for long-term and major construction projects. Often a public outreach campaign notifies the majority of pedestrians in the area of pending construction, raising the visibility of pedestrian access accommodations within the community. Such a campaign should target the general public along with representatives from schools, community centers, parks, transit, and businesses in the area to alert them of upcoming changes and to advise them of the efforts being undertaken to accommodate pedestrian needs. Pre-work notification in the immediate vicinity of the TTC, e.g., at bus stops, in store windows, etc., will allow pedestrians to make alternate route plans, if possible.
It is undesirable to close sidewalks or pathways during construction. If unavoidable, consider:
If a temporary route is created in the roadway adjacent to the closed sidewalk, the parking lane or one travel lane may be used for pedestrian travel, with appropriate barricades, cones, and signing. When a parking lane or travel lane is not available for closure, pedestrians must be detoured with advance signs in accordance with the MUTCD. Typical application 28, below, shows a 36 inch minimum width sidewalk; however, the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADA) requirement has been increased to a 48 inch minimum width. Also note that when it is not possible to maintain a minimum width of 60 inches throughout the entire length of the pedestrian pathway, a 60 inch by 60 inch passing space should be provided at least every 200 feet to allow individuals in wheelchairs to pass.
The MUTCD provides basic guidance on how to accommodate pedestrians in and around TTC zones. Considerations in planning for pedestrian safety in TTC zones on highways and streets are identified in Part 6D of the MUTCD as follows:
If a project allows pedestrian access through part of the TTC zone, the pathway should be properly maintained. Note that tape, rope, or a plastic chain strung between devices is not detectable; their use does not comply with the design standards in the ADA or the MUTCD, and these items should not be used as a control for pedestrian movements. When implemented, the following recommendations should improve safety and convenience:
For more information, see Part 6 of the MUTCD for work zone specific issues and http://www.access-board.gov/news/sidewalk-videos.htm for pedestrian accessibility issues.
The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA)
15 Riverside Parkway, Suite 100 Fredericksburg, VA 22406-1022
This material is based upon work supported by the Federal Highway Administration under
Grant Agreement No. DTFH61-06-G-00004
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Federal Highway Administration.