Saturday, April 2, 2011

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Shared Use Path Accessibility Guidelines

For those of you that use shared use paths (bike paths), American Trails posted a notice earlier this week that the U.S. Access Board is seeking comments and input on the proposed guidelines by June 27, 2011

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) is issuing this Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to develop accessibility guidelines for shared use paths. Shared use paths are designed for both transportation and recreation purposes and are used by pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters, equestrians, and other users. The guidelines will include technical provisions for making newly constructed and altered shared use paths covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (ABA) accessible to persons with disabilities.


Question 1. Does the draft definition of "shared use path" sufficiently distinguish these paths from trails and sidewalks? If not, please provide any recommendations that would strengthen this distinction.

Question 2. What technical provisions, if any, should apply where separate unpaved paths are provided for equestrian use?

Question 3. Are there conditions where a 5 percent maximum grade cannot be achieved on a newly constructed shared use path? If so, the Board is interested in a description of the specific conditions that might prevent compliance.

Question 4. Should the Board provide guidance on how to address steeper segments of shared use paths when they cannot be avoided? For example, would providing space for bicyclists or wheelchair users to move off of the shared use path in order to avoid conflict with other traffic be helpful?

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?

Question 6. Are there conditions where cross slope steeper than 2 percent is necessary in new construction?

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?

Question 8. What technical provisions should apply where the shared use path overlaps a trail or sidewalk?

Question 9. Are different technical provisions needed when applying the draft technical provisions for shared use paths that ``connect'' shared use paths together or with other pedestrian routes (e.g., sidewalks, trails, accessible routes)? If so, please provide any additional information or recommendations.

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?

Question 11. Are there other issues that need to be addressed by the accessibility guidelines for shared use paths? If so, please provide specific information on any additional areas that should be addressed in the guidelines.

For more information, or if you wish to have your voice heard, please visit the American Trails website.

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