[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 59 (Monday, March 28, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 17064-17070]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-7156]


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ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD

36 CFR Chapter XI

[Docket No. 2011-02]
RIN 3014-AA41


Shared Use Path Accessibility Guidelines

AGENCY: Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board 
(Access Board) is issuing this Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
(ANPRM) 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.

DATES: Submit comments by June 27, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments by any of the following methods:
     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: board.gov">sharedusepathrule@access-board.gov. Include docket 
number 2011-02 or RIN number 3014-AA41 in the subject line of the 
message.
     Fax: 202-272-0081.
     Mail or Hand Delivery/Courier: Office of Technical and 
Informational Services, U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW., Suite 
1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111.
    All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peggy H. Greenwell, Office of 
Technical and Information Services, Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW., 
Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111. Telephone number: 202-272-0017 
(voice); 202-272-0082 (TTY). Electronic mail address: board.gov">greenwell@access-board.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board 
(Access Board) is responsible for developing accessibility guidelines 
to ensure that new construction and alterations of facilities subject 
to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 
et seq.) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 
4151 et seq.) are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with 
disabilities. The ADA applies to state and local governments, places of 
public accommodation, and commercial facilities. The ABA applies to 
facilities designed, built, altered, or leased with Federal funds.
    In separate rulemakings, the Board is developing accessibility 
guidelines for outdoor developed areas, including trails, and 
accessibility guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public right-
of-way, including sidewalks.
    The Board issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the 
outdoor developed areas accessibility guidelines, including trails, 
under the ABA in 2007. 72 FR 34074 (June 20, 2007). The NPRM was based 
on a consensus report containing recommended accessibility guidelines 
for trails and other outdoor elements from the Board's Regulatory 
Negotiation Committee on Outdoor Developed Areas. The Board made 
available for public review a draft of the final outdoor developed 
areas accessibility guidelines in 2009. The NPRM and draft of the final 
outdoor developed areas accessibility guidelines included technical 
provisions for trails. References in this notice to the ``Trails 
Guidelines'' refer to the 2009 draft of the final outdoor developed 
areas accessibility guidelines (see http://www.access-board.gov/outdoor/draft-final.htm).
    The Board will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for 
pedestrian facilities in the public rights-of-way accessibility 
guidelines, including sidewalks, in the summer of 2011. The Board made 
available for public review drafts of the proposed public rights-of-way 
accessibility guidelines in 2002 and 2005. The drafts of the proposed 
public rights-of-way accessibility guidelines included technical 
provisions for pedestrian access routes within sidewalks. References in 
this notice to the ``Pedestrian Access Route--Sidewalk Guidelines'' 
refer to the 2005 draft of the proposed public rights-of-way 
accessibility guidelines (see http://

[[Page 17065]]

www.access-board.gov/prowac/draft.htm).
    Public comments received during these rulemakings raised questions 
about applying the technical provisions for trails and pedestrian 
access routes within sidewalks to shared use paths. Commenters 
recommended that the Board develop specific accessibility guidelines 
for shared use paths that address their unique characteristics. The 
Board agrees that shared use paths differ sufficiently from trails and 
sidewalks to warrant specific guidelines for making them accessible.

Applicability

    Like all of the Board's accessibility guidelines, the guidelines 
for shared use paths will apply to newly constructed and altered 
facilities. When the Board's final guidelines are adopted by other 
Federal agencies authorized to issue ADA or ABA standards, they will be 
enforceable.\1\ The Board's guidelines do not address existing 
facilities unless the facilities are included in the scope of an 
alteration undertaken at the discretion of a covered entity. The 
Department of Justice has issued separate regulations on program 
accessibility for State and local governments and on barrier removal 
for places of public accommodation owned or operated by private 
entities that address existing facilities that are not altered. 28 CFR 
35.150 and 28 CFR 36.304. When the Department of Justice initiates 
rulemaking to adopt the shared use path accessibility guidelines as 
accessibility standards, the Department of Justice will address how 
program accessibility and barrier removal apply to existing shared use 
paths that are not altered. Comments concerning shared use paths that 
are not altered should be directed to the Department of Justice when it 
initiates rulemaking to adopt the shared use path accessibility 
guidelines as accessibility standards.
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    \1\ The Department of Justice and Department of Transportation 
are authorized to issue enforceable accessibility standards for the 
ADA. The General Services Administration, Department of Defense, 
Department of Housing and Urban Development, and United States 
Postal Service are authorized to issue enforceable accessibility 
standards for the ABA.
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Key Differences Between Shared Use Paths, Trails, Sidewalks, and 
Accessible Routes

    Shared use paths are a type of trail designed to be part of a 
transportation system, providing off-road routes for a variety of 
users. The primary users of shared use paths are bicyclists and 
pedestrians, including pedestrians using mobility devices such as 
manual or motorized wheelchairs. While they may coincidently provide a 
recreational experience, shared use paths differ from other types of 
trails with their transportation focus and serving as a supplement to 
on-road bike lanes, shared roadways, bike boulevards, and paved 
shoulders. They may extend or complement a roadway network. Shared use 
path design is similar to roadway design but on a smaller scale and for 
lower speeds. Whether located within a highway right-of-way, provided 
along a riverbank, or established over natural terrain within an 
independent right-of-way, shared use paths differ from sidewalks and 
trails in that they are primarily designed for bicyclists and others 
for transportation purposes such as commuting to work.
    Trails, on the other hand, are designed primarily for recreational 
purposes. Since they are not designed with a transportation focus, they 
are typically not parallel to a roadway. Trails are pedestrian routes 
developed primarily for outdoor recreational purposes and do not 
connect elements, spaces, or facilities within a site. Trails are 
largely designed for pedestrians and other users to ``experience'' the 
outdoors and may be used by a variety of users, but they are not 
designed for transportation purposes.
    Sidewalks are located in a public right-of-way and typically are 
parallel to a roadway. Consequently, sidewalk grades (running slopes) 
must be generally consistent with roadway grades so that they fit into 
the right-of-way. Sidewalks are designed for pedestrians and are not 
designed for bicycles or other recreational purposes.

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 
(AASHTO) Guide on Bicycle Facilities and Shared Use Paths

    The American Association of State Highway and Transportation 
Officials (AASHTO) advocates transportation-related policies and 
provides technical services to support states in their efforts to 
efficiently and safely move people and goods. AASHTO develops and 
publishes more than 125 volumes of standards and guidelines that are 
used worldwide in the design, construction, maintenance, operation, and 
administration of highways, bridges, and other transportation 
facilities. AASHTO is considered a leading source of information 
related to the design and construction of pedestrian and bicycle 
facilities. The Board has worked closely with AASHTO over the years in 
developing accessibility criteria for pedestrian facilities and shared 
use paths. AASHTO developed the ``Guide for the Planning, Design, and 
Operation of Pedestrian Facilities'' (July 2004) and the ``Guide for 
the Development of Bicycle Facilities'' (1999). Although compliance 
with these AASHTO documents is voluntary, many states adopt these 
AASHTO documents as standards.
    In February 2010, AASHTO made available draft revisions to the 1999 
``Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities.'' The February 2010 
draft is named the ``Guide for Planning, Design, and Operation of 
Bicycle Facilities.'' References in this notice to the AASHTO Bicycle 
Facilities Guide refer to the February 2010 draft of the ``Guide for 
Guide for Planning, Design, and Operation of Bicycle Facilities.'' 
Chapter 5 of the AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide contains technical 
provisions for shared use paths. Chapter 5 applies a combination of the 
technical provisions in Board's Trails Guidelines and Pedestrian Access 
Route--Sidewalk Guidelines to shared use paths. The Board's rulemaking 
on shared use paths is timely given AASHTO's current plan to revise its 
guide for bicycle facilities and shared use paths. This rulemaking 
presents an opportunity for AASHTO and the Board to coordinate their 
efforts. AASHTO and the Board share a common interest in providing 
clear and consistent technical provisions for designers, owners and 
operators of shared use paths. The Board welcomes this opportunity.

Information Meeting on Shared Use Paths

    On September 13, 2010, the Board held a public information meeting 
in conjunction with the ProWalk/ProBike 2010 Conference convened by the 
National Center for Bicycling and Walking. This was an opportunity for 
individuals with disabilities, designers of shared use paths, and other 
interested parties to provide information to assist the Access Board to 
consider how best to approach the development of accessibility 
guidelines for shared use paths. The meeting featured representatives 
from the State of Washington Department of Transportation, Florida 
Department of Transportation, AASHTO, and the Federal Highway 
Administration (FHWA). Meeting participants addressed major issues, 
including how to define shared use paths and possible technical 
provisions. Input from this meeting is reflected in this notice.

Request for Public Comment

    The Board seeks input from the public, including individuals with 
disabilities, and from representatives of

[[Page 17066]]

Federal, State, or local governments, public transportation 
organizations, and industry professionals regarding matters covered in 
this notice. In particular, the Board invites comments on the draft 
definition of ``shared use path'' and draft technical provisions in 
this document. Please provide responses to the specific questions 
included in the notice and provide any additional information that may 
assist the Board to further refine the draft definition and technical 
provisions.

Shared Use Path Definition

    Given the similarity between exterior pedestrian routes, including 
shared use paths, sidewalks, trails, and accessible routes, it is 
important to define the term ``shared use path'' used in this document 
in order to minimize any potential confusion regarding applicable 
accessibility criteria.
    To accomplish this, the Board has developed a draft definition for 
``shared use path''. AASHTO and several city, state, and Federal 
agencies have developed definitions; however, currently there is no 
universally accepted definition. The table below includes some of those 
definitions.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Source                    Definition: Shared use path
------------------------------------------------------------------------
AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide........  A bikeway physically separated
http://design.transportation.org/         from motorized vehicular
 Documents/DraftBikeGuideFeb2010.pdf..    traffic by an open space or
                                          barrier and either within the
                                          highway right-of-way or within
                                          an independent right-of-way.
                                          Shared use paths may also be
                                          used by pedestrians, skaters,
                                          wheelchair users, joggers, and
                                          other nonmotorized users.
U.S. Department of Transportation,       The term ``shared use path''
 Federal Highway Administration.          means a multi-use trail or
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/      other path, physically
 bikeped/freeways.htm..                   separated from motorized
                                          vehicular traffic by an open
                                          space or barrier, either
                                          within a highway right-of-way
                                          or within an independent right-
                                          of-way, and usable for
                                          transportation purposes.
                                          Shared use paths may be used
                                          by pedestrians, bicyclists,
                                          skaters, equestrians, and
                                          other nonmotorized users.
State of Washington, Department of       A facility physically separated
 Transportation.                          from motorized vehicular
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Publications/     traffic within the highway
 Manuals/M22-01.htm..                     right-of-way or on an
                                          exclusive right of way with
                                          minimal crossflow by motor
                                          vehicles. Primarily used by
                                          pedestrians and bicyclists,
                                          shared use paths are also used
                                          by joggers, skaters,
                                          wheelchair users (both
                                          nonmotorized and motorized),
                                          equestrians, and other
                                          nonmotorized users.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In related rulemaking, the Board developed a definition for 
``trails'' in the Trails Guidelines and will reference the 2009 Manual 
of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) definition of ``sidewalks'' 
in the Pedestrian Access Route--Sidewalk Guidelines. These definitions 
are provided below for comparison to the above definitions of ``shared 
use path.''
    Trail. A pedestrian route developed primarily for outdoor 
recreational purposes. A pedestrian route developed primarily to 
connect elements, spaces, or facilities within a site is not a trail. 
(Trails Guidelines, Section F106.5)
    Sidewalk. That portion of a street between the curb line, or the 
lateral line of a roadway, and the adjacent property line or on 
easements of private property that is paved or improved and intended 
for use by pedestrians. (2009 MUTCD Section 1A.13.192)
    Participants attending the information meeting in September 2010 
held in conjunction with the ProWalk/ProBike meeting noted the need for 
a definition of ``shared use path.'' They identified the key 
characteristics of a shared use path. The focus on a ``transportation'' 
purpose and ``multi-use'' were found to be primary factors 
distinguishing shared use paths from sidewalks and trails. Shared use 
paths are designed primarily for bicycles and pedestrians. The Board 
has used this input to develop the draft definition below.
    Shared Use Path. A shared use path is a multi-use path designed for 
both transportation and recreation purposes. Shared use paths typically 
are separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an open space or 
barrier, either within a highway right-of-way or within an independent 
right-of-way.
    Shared use paths are used by pedestrians and bicyclists, joggers, 
skaters, wheelchair users (both nonmotorized and motorized), 
equestrians, and other nonmotorized users. The draft definition does 
not include a list of all the groups that may use a shared use path. 
The purpose of the definition is to clarify when to apply the scoping 
and technical provisions for these paths. Local jurisdictions have 
authority to establish permissible uses on shared use paths. The 
Department of Justice (DOJ) ADA regulations require local jurisdictions 
to permit individuals with mobility disabilities to use manually-
operated and power-driven wheelchairs in any areas open to the public. 
See 28 CFR 35.137 (a) as amended on September 15, 2010 (75 FR 56178). 
The DOJ ADA regulations further require local jurisdictions to 
establish policies regarding the use of other power-driven mobility 
devices by individuals with mobility disabilities subject to legitimate 
safety requirements. See 28 CFR 35.137 (b) as amended on September 15, 
2010 (75 FR 56178). FHWA has issued similar guidance regarding use of 
other power-driven mobility devices by individuals with mobility 
disabilities on pedestrian routes funded with Federal-aid highway 
funds. See http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped/framework.htm.
    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.

Draft Technical Provisions for Shared Use Paths

    Based on input at the information meeting in September 2010 and 
other sources, the Board has developed draft technical provisions for 
shared use paths and invites public comment. Discussion follows each of 
the draft technical provisions. For some of the draft provisions, we 
have provided tables showing corresponding provisions for sidewalks in 
the Pedestrian Access Route--Sidewalk Guidelines; trails in the Trails 
Guidelines; and shared use paths in the February 2010 draft AASHTO 
Bicycle Facilities Guide. The draft technical provisions establish 
criteria for the following components of a shared use path: surface; 
changes in level (vertical alignment and surface discontinuities); 
horizontal openings; width; grade and cross slope; protruding objects; 
gates

[[Page 17067]]

and barriers; and intersections and curb ramps.
    Question 2. What technical provisions, if any, should apply where 
separate unpaved paths are provided for equestrian use? Additional 
information and guidance on this issue is welcomed.

1. Surface

    Surface. The surface of the shared use path shall be firm, stable, 
and slip resistant.
    A firm, stable, and slip resistant surface is necessary for persons 
with disabilities using wheeled mobility devices. Bicyclists with 
narrow-tired bicycles and in-line skaters also need a hard, durable 
surface. Shared use paths typically are comprised of asphalt or 
concrete and these surfaces are generally accessible for people with 
disabilities. These surfaces perform well in inclement weather and 
require minimal maintenance. Unpaved surfaces that are firm, stable, 
and slip resistant may be used; however, they may erode over time 
requiring regular maintenance.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Surface                             Provisions
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Access Board Pedestrian Access Route--   Firm, stable, and slip
 Sidewalk Guidelines.                     resistant.
Access Board Trail Guidelines..........  Firm and stable.
AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide........  Hard, durable surface such as
                                          asphalt or Portland cement
                                          concrete recommended.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Changes in Level

    Vertical Alignment. Vertical alignment shall be planar within curb 
ramp runs, blended transitions, landings, and gutter areas within the 
shared use path. Grade breaks shall be flush. Where the shared use path 
crosses rail tracks at grade, the surface of the shared use path shall 
be level and flush with the top of the rail at the outer edges of the 
rail. The surface between the rails shall be aligned with the top of 
the rail.
    Surface Discontinuities. Surface discontinuities shall not exceed 
0.50 inch (13 mm) maximum. Vertical discontinuities between 0.25 inch 
(6.4 mm) and 0.5 inch (13 mm) maximum shall be beveled at 1:2 maximum. 
The bevel shall be applied across the entire level change.
    In addition to firm, stable, and slip resistant surfaces, smooth 
surfaces are also necessary for the safe use of wheeled mobility 
devices, as well as bicycles and in-line skaters. The draft technical 
provisions allow vertical changes in level up to \1/4\ inch without 
treatment and other vertical changes in level from \1/4\ to \1/2\ inch 
if they are beveled with a slope no greater than 1:2. Surfaces with 
individual units laid out of plane and those that are heavily textured, 
rough, or chamfered, will greatly increase rolling resistance and will 
subject pedestrians who use wheelchairs, scooters, and rolling walkers 
to the stressful (and often painful) effects of vibration. Surface 
discontinuities are also dangerous for bicyclists and in-line skaters. 
It is highly desirable to minimize surface discontinuities. However, 
when discontinuities are unavoidable, they should be widely separated.

3. Horizontal Openings

    Joints and Gratings. Openings shall not permit passage of a sphere 
more than 0.5 inch (13 mm) in diameter. Elongated openings shall be 
placed so that the long dimension is perpendicular to the dominant 
direction of travel.
    Flangeway Gaps at Non-Freight Rail Crossings. Openings for wheel 
flanges at pedestrian crossings of non-freight rail track shall be 2.5 
inches (64 mm) maximum.
    Flangeway Gaps at Freight Rail Crossings. Openings for wheel 
flanges at pedestrian crossings of freight rail track shall be 3 inches 
(75 mm) maximum.
    Surface openings or gaps must be minimized in order to ensure a 
smooth surface on shared-use paths. Utility covers and drainage grates 
can be hazards and, for the safety of all users, must be treated. 
Special treatment is necessary where shared use paths cross railroad 
crossings, both freight and non-freight for the safe passage of wheeled 
mobility devices, as well as bicycles and other users. The AASHTO 
Bicycle Facilities Guide recommends that railroad crossings be smooth 
and be designed at an angle between 60 and 90 degrees to the direction 
of travel in order to minimize the danger of falls.
    The draft technical provisions for surface gaps in shared use paths 
are consistent with the draft provisions in the Pedestrian Access 
Route--Sidewalk Guidelines. In most cases, the guidelines will require 
surface gaps or openings on shared use paths to be no wider than 1/2 
inch. However, this specification is not practicable at rail tracks 
where gaps must be at least 2\1/2\ inches to safely accommodate rail 
car wheel flanges. Due to variations in load and wheel play, the gap 
must be even larger (3 inches) to accommodate heavy freight trains. The 
Board is aware that such a gap can trap wheelchair caster wheels which 
are prone to turning sideways against vertical displacements, even 
slight ones but is unaware of a way to resolve this conflict.

4. Width

    Width. The clear width of shared use paths shall be 5 feet (1.5 m) 
minimum.
    The AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide recommends the paved width for 
a shared use path to be 10 feet minimum. Typically, widths range from 
10 to 14 feet with the wider ranges in areas with high use or when 
planning for a wider variety of user groups. In very rare 
circumstances, a reduced width of 8 feet may be used. Wider shared use 
paths also are recommended where the path is used by larger maintenance 
vehicles; on steep grades to provide additional passing area; or 
through curves to provide more operating space.
    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.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Width                              Provisions
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Access Board Pedestrian Access Route--   4 feet minimum.
 Sidewalk Guidelines.
Access Board Trail Guidelines..........  3 feet minimum.
AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide........  10 feet minimum (in rare cases,
                                          8 feet minimum).
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 17068]]

5. Grade and Cross Slope

    Grade. The maximum grade of a shared use path shall be 5 percent.
    Exception: Where the shared use path is contained within a street 
or highway border, its grade shall not exceed the general grade 
established for the adjacent street or highway.
    Individuals with disabilities using wheeled mobility devices 
generally need less steep slopes in order to conserve energy and to 
better maintain control of the wheeled mobility device. For these 
reasons, the Board is considering a 5 percent maximum grade on newly 
constructed and altered shared paths that are not contained within a 
street or highway border. The AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide 
recommends that grades greater than 5 percent are undesirable for a 
variety of reasons. Bicyclists may find ascents over-taxing and 
descents uncomfortable where speed is likely to build. Steep grades 
affect the safety of all users, particularly where multiple types of 
users are on the path at the same time. For example, pedestrians with 
disabilities may have difficulty avoiding faster moving bicycles. More 
importantly, however, pedestrians with disabilities are likely to 
experience greater difficulty traveling on steeper slopes than others.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Grade (running slope)                                          Provisions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Access Board Pedestrian Access Route-- Where pedestrian access route within a sidewalk is contained within a
 Sidewalk Guidelines.                  street or highway border, its grade shall not exceed the general grade
                                       established for the adjacent street or highway.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Access Board Trail Guidelines........     Running Slope of Trail Segment              Maximum Length of
                                                                             Segment
                                      --------------------------------------
                                          Steeper than     But not steeper
                                                                 than
                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    1:20               1:12  200 feet (61 m).
                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    1:12               1:10  30 feet (9 m).
                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    1:10                1:8  10 feet (3050 mm).
                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       * No more than 30 percent of the total length of a trail shall have a
                                       running slope steeper than 1:12.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide......  Grades greater than 5 percent are undesirable.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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. The Board will consider providing additional 
exceptions where it may be difficult or impossible to meet the 5 
percent maximum grade.
    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?
    Where the shared use path is contained within a street or highway 
border, the grade may not exceed the general grade established for the 
adjacent street or highway. This is consistent with the grade 
provisions for sidewalks.
    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?
    Cross Slope. The maximum cross slope shall be 2 percent.
    Excessive cross slope (exceeding 2 percent) is a major barrier to 
travel along shared use paths for individuals using wheeled mobility 
devices and can significantly impede forward progress on an uphill 
slope and compromise control and balance in downhill travel and on 
turns. Cross slope also negatively affects pedestrians who have braces 
or lower-limb prostheses and may use walkers or crutches, and those 
with gait, balance, and stamina impairments. Energy that might 
otherwise be used in forward travel must be expended to resist the 
perpendicular force of a cross slope along a route of travel. The 
AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide recommends a one percent cross slope, 
particularly at turns where bicyclists tend to lean to one side while 
turning. A one percent cross slope also provides sufficient slope to 
convey surface drainage in most situations.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Cross Slope                           Provisions
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Access Board Pedestrian Access Route--   The cross slope of the
 Sidewalk Guidelines.                     pedestrian access route within
                                          a sidewalk shall be 2 percent
                                          maximum.
Access Board Trail Guidelines..........  Where the surface is concrete,
                                          asphalt, or boards, the cross
                                          slope shall not be steeper
                                          than 2 percent.
                                         Where the surface is other than
                                          concrete, asphalt, or boards,
                                          the cross slope shall not be
                                          steeper than 5 percent.
AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide........  1 percent recommended where
                                          possible.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 6. Are there conditions where cross slope steeper than 2 
percent is necessary in new construction? If so, the Board is 
interested in a description of these specific conditions and

[[Page 17069]]

recommendations for appropriate allowances.

6. Protruding Objects

    Protruding Objects. Protruding objects along or overhanging any 
portion of the shared use path shall not reduce the clear width of the 
shared use paths.
    Protrusion Limits. Objects with leading edges more than 27 inches 
(685 mm) and not more than 80 inches (2 m) above the finish surface or 
ground shall not protrude more than 4 inches (100 mm) horizontally into 
shared use paths.
    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.
    The draft technical provisions for protruding objects are derived 
from the Board's ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines and Pedestrian 
Access Route--Sidewalk Guidelines. The provisions addresses objects 
that may project into shared use paths in a manner hazardous to people 
with vision impairments. Any protrusion on a shared use path is 
considered hazardous for all users, including individuals with 
disabilities. These technical provisions would apply to the full width 
of the shared use path. Objects mounted on walls or posts with leading 
edges above the standard sweep of canes (27 inches) and below the 
standard head room clearance (80 inches) would be limited to a 4 inch 
protrusion.

7. Gates and Barriers

    Clear Width. Where gates or other barriers are provided, openings 
in gates and barriers shall provide a clear width of 32 inches (815 mm) 
minimum.
    Gate Hardware. Gate hardware shall be operable with one hand and 
shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. 
The force required to activate operable parts shall be 5 pounds (22.2 
N) maximum. Operable parts of such hardware shall be 34 inches (865 mm) 
minimum and 48 inches (1220 mm) maximum above the finish surface or 
ground.
    The draft technical provisions for gates and barriers are based on 
the Board's ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines and Trails Guidelines. 
Gates or barriers often are wider than 32 inches to allow for the safe 
passage of bicycles and other authorized users of shared use paths. The 
Board is proposing to require a 32 inch minimum clearance to address 
the rare circumstance where gate or barrier openings are deliberately 
narrow and could restrict access by wheelchair users unless a minimum 
width applies. A 32 inch wide clear opening provides the minimum 
clearance necessary to allow passage of an occupied wheelchair or other 
mobility device. The operation and location provisions for gate 
hardware are necessary to ensure that individuals with disabilities can 
operate the hardware.

8. Intersections and Curb Ramps

Curb Ramps and Blended Transitions
    Curb Ramps. Curb ramps shall have a running slope that cuts through 
or is built up to the curb at right angles or meets the gutter grade 
break at right angles.
    Running Slope. The running slope of curb ramps shall be 5 percent 
minimum and 8.3 percent maximum but shall not require the ramp length 
to exceed 15 ft. (4.5 m).
    Cross Slope. The cross slope of a curb ramp at intersections shall 
be 2 percent maximum. The cross slope of a curb ramp at midblock 
crossings shall be permitted to be equal to the street or highway 
grade.
    Landing. A landing 4 feet (1.2 m) minimum by 4 feet (1.2 m) minimum 
shall be provided at the top of the curb ramp and shall be permitted to 
overlap other landings and clear space. The running and cross slope of 
a curb ramp at midblock crossings shall be permitted to be equal to the 
street or highway grade.
    Blended Transitions. Where blended transitions are provided, the 
running slope shall be 5 percent maximum and cross slope shall be 2 
percent maximum.

Common Technical Provisions for Curb Ramps and Blended Transitions

    Width. The clear width of blended transitions and curb ramps, 
excluding flares, shall be at least as wide as the shared use path.
    Detectable Warning Surfaces. Detectable warning surfaces shall be 
provided where a shared use path connects to or crosses a roadway or 
railway crossing.
    Grade Breaks. Grade breaks at the top and bottom of curb ramps 
shall be perpendicular to the direction of the ramp run. At least one 
end of the bottom grade break shall be at the back of curb. Grade 
breaks shall not be permitted on the surface of curb ramps, blended 
transitions, landings, and gutter areas within the shared use path. 
Surface slopes that meet at grade breaks shall be flush.
    Counter Slopes. The counter slope of the gutter or street at the 
foot of a curb ramp, landing, or blended transition shall be 5 percent 
maximum.
    Clear Space. Beyond the curb face, a clear space of 4 feet (1.2 m) 
minimum by 4 feet. (1.2 m) minimum shall be provided within the width 
of the crossing.

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 (23 mm) 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 (5 
mm).
    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.
    Contrast. Detectable warning surfaces shall contrast visually with 
adjacent gutter, street or highway, or shared use path surfaces, either 
light-on-dark or dark-on-light.
    Size. Detectable warning surfaces shall extend 24 inches (610 mm) 
minimum in the direction of travel and the full width of the curb ramp 
or the blended transition.

Location and Alignment of Detectable Warning Surfaces

    Curb Ramps. Where both ends of the bottom grade break are 5.0 feet 
(1.5 m) or less from the back of curb, the detectable warning surfaces 
shall be located on the ramp surface at the bottom grade break. Where 
either end of the bottom grade break is more than 5.0 feet (1.5 m) from 
the back of curb, the detectable warning surfaces shall be located on 
the lower landing.
    Blended Transitions. The detectable warning surfaces shall be 
located on the blended transition at the back of curb.
    Rail Crossings. The detectable warning surfaces shall be located so 
that the edge nearest the rail crossing is 6

[[Page 17070]]

feet (1.8 m) minimum and 15 feet (4.6 m) maximum from the centerline of 
the nearest rail. The rows of truncated domes in a detectable warning 
surface shall be aligned to be parallel with the direction of 
pedestrian travel.
    Treatment of elevation changes, such as at curbs, and controlling 
cross slope are key factors in ensuring accessibility, particularly 
where shared use paths and roadways intersect. The draft technical 
provisions for curb ramps, blended transitions, and detectable warnings 
are based on the Board's Pedestrian Access Route--Sidewalk Guidelines. 
In general, the draft provisions for shared use paths require the 
following.
     The opening of a shared use path at a roadway must be at 
least as wide as the shared use path itself;
     A curb ramp or blended transition must be provided, and 
must be the full width of the shared use path;
     The running slope of the curb ramp must not exceed 8.3 
percent and blended transition must not exceed 5 percent;
     The cross slope must be the same as the running slope of 
the roadway at midblock crossings; and
     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.
    Markings at crossings of shared use paths and roadways must also 
comply with the provisions of Part 3--Markings of the 2009 Manual on 
Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
    The Board has limited the requirement for detectable warnings to 
locations where a shared use path crosses a roadway or a railway. The 
Board has not included a requirement for detectable warnings where 
shared use paths cross other paths or pedestrian facilities. Where 
pedestrians and bicyclists share a pathway, established bicycle and 
pedestrian ``rules of the road'' should provide sufficient guidance for 
safe use.
    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?

9. Other Issues

Overlap of Trails, Sidewalks, and Shared Use Paths
    In some locations, a shared use path may be part of a sidewalk, or 
part of a trail. Guidance is needed to clarify which set of guidelines 
should be applied where there is overlap since the technical provisions 
are different in some areas. For example, Pedestrian Access Route--
Sidewalk Guidelines permit the grade to follow the slope of the roadway 
and Trails Guidelines specify a maximum grade. The Board is interested 
in suggestions for ways to treat areas of shared use paths that overlap 
sidewalks and trails that will provide an acceptable level of 
accessibility while taking into consideration any unique conditions or 
situations that may occur where these routes overlap.
    Question 8. What technical provisions should apply where the shared 
use path overlaps a trail or sidewalk?

Shared Use Path Connections

    The draft technical provisions in this ANPRM apply to the newly 
constructed and altered shared use paths. Shared use paths may be 
constructed over many miles and connected with other pedestrian routes, 
creating a network for transportation purposes. The Board is interested 
in more information regarding connections between shared use paths and 
other parts of a transportation network.
    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.

Where should the accessibility guidelines for shared use paths be 
located?

    The Board is considering including the accessibility guidelines for 
shared use paths in the same document as the accessibility guidelines 
for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way. State and local 
government departments of transportation appear to be the principal 
entities that design and construct shared use paths since these 
facilities are an extension of the transportation network, and having 
the accessibility guidelines for shared use paths in the same document 
as pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way appears to be a 
logical choice. In addition, many of the draft technical provisions for 
shared use paths (i.e., intersection and curb ramps/blended 
transitions, detectable warning surfaces, 4 inch limit on post-mounted 
protruding objects (signs), and rail flangeway gaps) are the same as 
those in draft guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public-
right-of-way.
    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.

Regulatory Process Matters

    The Board will prepare regulatory assessments required by Executive 
Orders 12866 and 13563, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act as a part of 
a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the next step in this 
rulemaking.
    Question 12. The Board requests commenters to provide information 
for the regulatory assessments, including:
     Number of existing and planned shared-use paths at the 
state or national level;
     Number of shared-use paths constructed each year (on 
average) within your jurisdiction;
     Typical cost for a new shared-use path on a per-mile 
basis;
     Sources of funding for the construction of shared-use 
paths (e.g., Federal highway funds, other Federal grant programs, state 
funds, local funds);
     The extent to which the AASHTO Bicycle Facilities Guide, 
or other design guides and standards are used for shared use paths;
     Whether any of the draft technical provisions would result 
in additional costs for design work, materials, earthmoving, retaining 
structures, or other items compared to current construction practices 
or design guides and standards currently followed;
     What, if any, unintended consequences (positive or 
negative) could result from an agency adopting the guidelines, and
     What impacts will the draft technical provisions have on 
small entities and are there alternatives that would minimize those 
impacts?

Nancy Starnes,
Chair, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.
[FR Doc. 2011-7156 Filed 3-25-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8150-01-P