[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 30 (Wednesday, February 13, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 10110-10117]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-03298]


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ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD

36 CFR Part 1190

[Docket No. ATBCB-2013-0002]
RIN 3014-AA26


Accessibility Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public 
Right-of-Way; Shared Use Paths

AGENCY: Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: We, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance 
Board (Access Board), issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking 
(ANPRM) announcing our intent to develop accessibility guidelines for 
shared used paths. Shared use paths are multi-use paths designed 
primarily for use by bicyclists and pedestrians, including pedestrians 
with disabilities, for transportation and recreation purposes. Shared 
use paths are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by an 
open space or barrier, and are either within the highway right-of-way 
or within an independent right-of-way. We noted in the ANPRM that we 
are considering including accessibility guidelines for shared use paths 
in the accessibility guidelines that we are developing for sidewalks 
and other pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way. We 
subsequently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) requesting 
comments on proposed accessibility guidelines for pedestrian facilities 
in the public right-of-way. The NPRM did not include specific 
provisions for shared use paths. We are issuing this supplemental 
notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) to include specific provisions 
for shared use paths in the proposed accessibility guidelines for 
pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way. The proposed 
accessibility guidelines would apply to the design, construction, and 
alteration of pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way, 
including shared use paths, covered by the Americans with Disabilities 
Act and the Architectural Barriers Act, and would ensure that the 
facilities are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with 
disabilities.

DATES: Submit comments by May 14, 2013.

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-2013-0002.
     Email: board.gov">docket@access-board.gov. Include docket number 
ATBCB 2013-0002 in the subject line of the message.
     Fax: 202-272-0081.
     Mail or Hand Delivery/Courier: Scott Windley, Access 
Board, 1331 F Street NW., Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111.
    All comments will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Windley, Access Board, 1331 F 
Street NW., Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111. Telephone (202) 272-
0025 (voice) or (202) 272-0028 (TTY). Email address board.gov">row@access-board.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary
2. Background
3. Proposed Supplements to Proposed Accessibility Guidelines for 
Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way
4. Comparison of Proposed Technical Provisions Applicable to Shared 
Use Paths and AASHTO Guide
5. Conflicts Between Shared Path Users
6. Regulatory Analyses

    In this preamble, ``we,'' ``us,'' and ``our'' refer to the 
Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access 
Board).

[[Page 10111]]

1. Executive Summary

    This supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) proposes to 
include specific provisions for shared use paths in the proposed 
accessibility guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public right-
of-way published in the Federal Register on July 26, 2011. See 76 FR 
44664 (July 26, 2011). A copy of the proposed accessibility guidelines 
for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way with the specific 
provisions for shared use paths proposed in the SNPRM is available on 
our Web site at: http://www.access-board.gov/sup.htm.
    We are required by section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act to 
establish and maintain accessibility guidelines for the design, 
construction, and alteration of facilities covered by the Americans 
with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) to 
ensure that the facilities are readily accessible to and usable by 
individuals with disabilities. See 29 U.S.C. 792(b)(3). The ADA covers 
state and local government facilities, places of public accommodation, 
and commercial facilities. See 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. The ABA covers 
facilities financed with federal funds. See 42 U.S.C. 4151 et seq.
    We are issuing the SNPRM in response to public comments on separate 
rulemakings to develop accessibility guidelines for trails and other 
outdoor developed areas, and for sidewalks and other pedestrian 
facilities in the public right-of-way. The comments noted that shared 
use paths are distinct from trails and sidewalks, and recommended that 
we develop accessibility guidelines for shared use paths. As defined in 
the SNPRM, shared use paths are multi-use paths designed primarily for 
use by bicyclists and pedestrians, including pedestrians with 
disabilities, for transportation and recreation purposes. Shared use 
paths are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by an open 
space or barrier, and are either within the highway right-of-way or 
within an independent right-of-way.
    As noted above, the SNPRM would include specific provisions for 
shared use paths in the proposed accessibility guidelines for 
pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way. The proposed 
accessibility guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public right-
of-way would require pedestrian access routes to be provided within 
pedestrian circulation paths located in the public right-of-way, and 
would establish proposed technical provisions for the width, grade, 
cross slope, and surface of pedestrian access routes. See R204.2 and 
R302. Where existing pedestrian circulation paths are altered and 
existing physical constraints make it impracticable for the altered 
paths to fully comply with the proposed technical provisions, 
compliance would be required to the extent practicable. See R202.3.1.
    The SNPRM would:
     Require the full width of a shared use path to comply with 
the proposed technical provisions for the grade, cross slope, and 
surface of pedestrian access routes (see R302.3.2);
     Permit compliance with the proposed technical provisions 
for the grade of pedestrian access routes to the extent practicable 
where physical constraints or regulatory constraints prevent full 
compliance (see R302.5.4 and R302.5.5);
     Prohibit objects from overhanging or protruding into any 
portion of a shared use path at or below 8 feet measured from the 
finished surface (see R210.3); and
     Require the width of curb ramps and blended transitions in 
shared use paths to be equal to the width of the shared use path (see 
R304.5.1.2).
    The SNPRM is consistent with the design criteria for shared used 
paths in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation 
Officials (AASHTO) ``Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities'' 
(2012) (hereinafter referred to as the ``AASHTO Guide''). The SNPRM is 
not expected to increase the cost of constructing shared use paths for 
state and local government jurisdictions that use the AASHTO Guide.
    As discussed in the preamble to the proposed accessibility 
guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way, other 
federal agencies are required to adopt accessibility standards for the 
design, construction, and alteration of facilities covered by the ADA 
and ABA that are consistent with our accessibility guidelines. When the 
other federal agencies adopt accessibility standards for the design, 
construction, and alteration of pedestrian facilities in the public 
right-of-way, including shared use paths, covered by the ADA and ABA, 
compliance with the standards is mandatory.

2. Background

    We are conducting separate rulemakings to develop accessibility 
guidelines for trails and other outdoor developed areas, and for 
sidewalks and other pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way.
    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) requesting 
comments on proposed accessibility guidelines for trails and other 
outdoor developed areas in 2007. See 72 FR 34074 (June 20, 2007). A 
trail would be defined for purposes of these accessibility guidelines 
as 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.
    We requested comments on draft accessibility guidelines for 
sidewalks and other pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way in 
2002 and 2005. See 67 FR 41206 (June 17, 2002); and 70 FR 70734 
(November 23, 2005). These accessibility guidelines would adopt the 
definition of sidewalk in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices 
(MUTCD). The MUTCD (2009) defines a sidewalk as the 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.
    Public comments on these rulemakings noted that shared use paths 
are distinct from trails and sidewalks in that they are used by 
bicyclists and pedestrians, including pedestrians with disabilities, 
for transportation and recreation purposes. The comments recommended 
that we develop accessibility guidelines for shared use paths. On March 
28, 2011, we issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) 
announcing our intent to develop accessibility guidelines for shared 
use paths, and requested comments on a definition and draft technical 
provisions for shared use paths. See 76 FR 17064 (March 28, 2011). We 
noted in the ANPRM that we are considering including accessibility 
guidelines for shared use paths in the accessibility guidelines for 
pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way since state and local 
transportation departments are the principal entities that design and 
construct shared use paths, and many of the draft technical provisions 
for shared use paths in the ANPRM are the same as those in the draft 
accessibility guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public right-
of-way (e.g., curb ramps and blended transitions, and detectable 
warning surfaces).
    On July 26, 2011, we issued a NPRM requesting comments on proposed 
accessibility guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public right-
of-way. See 76 FR 44664 (July 26, 2011). The NPRM did not include 
specific provisions for shared use paths. The comment period on the 
NPRM ended on November 23, 2011. The comment period was reopened on 
December 5, 2011 to allow

[[Page 10112]]

additional time for the public to submit comments. See 76 FR 75844 
(December 5, 2011). The additional comment period ended on February 2, 
2012.

3. Proposed Supplements to Proposed Accessibility Guidelines for 
Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way

    We are issuing this SNPRM to include specific provisions for shared 
use paths in the proposed accessibility guidelines for pedestrian 
facilities in the public right-of-way published in the Federal Register 
on July 26, 2011. See 76 FR 44664 (July 26, 2011). The proposed 
accessibility guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public right-
of-way will be codified as an appendix to 36 CFR part 1190. The SNPRM 
would supplement the following sections of the proposed accessibility 
guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way: R105.5 
Defined Terms; R204 and R302 Pedestrian Access Routes; R210 Protruding 
Objects; R218 Doors, Doorways, and Gates; and R304 Curb Ramps and 
Blended Transitions. The proposed supplements to these sections are set 
forth below.

R105.5 Defined Terms

Shared Use Path
    The SNPRM would add a proposed definition of shared use path in 
R105.5 to read as follows:
    Shared Use Path. A multi-use path designed primarily for use by 
bicyclists and pedestrians, including pedestrians with disabilities, 
for transportation and recreation purposes. Shared use paths are 
physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by an open space or 
barrier, and are either within the highway right-of-way or within an 
independent right-of-way.
    The proposed definition is based on the AASHTO Guide, which defines 
a shared use path as a bikeway physically separated from motor vehicle 
traffic by an open space or barrier, and either within the highway 
right-of-way or within an independent right of way. The AASHTO Guide 
notes that pedestrians, including pedestrians with disabilities, also 
use shared use paths and that they can serve transportation and 
recreation purposes. See AASHTO Guide, 5.1 Introduction. The U.S. 
Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) 
defines a shared use path similar to the AASHTO Guide.\1\ State 
transportation departments also define shared use paths similar to the 
AASHTO Guide.\2\
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    \1\ The FHWA defines a shared use path as a multi-use trail or 
path physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an 
open space or barrier, either within the highway right-of-way or 
within an independent right of way, and usable for transportation 
purposes. The FHWA definition of shared use path is available at: 
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/design_guidance/freeways.cfm.
    \2\ For example, the Washington State Department of 
Transportation Design Manual (July 2012) defines a shared use path 
as a facility physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic 
within the highway right-of-way or on an exclusive right-of-way with 
minimal cross flow by motor vehicles. The Washington State 
Department of Transportation Design Manual is available at: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Publications/Manuals/M22-01.htm.
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    As noted in the AASHTO Guide, the primary factor that distinguishes 
shared use paths and sidewalks is the intended user. Shared use paths 
are designed for use by bicyclists and pedestrians, including 
pedestrians with disabilities. Sidewalks are designed for use by 
pedestrians, including pedestrians with disabilities, and are not 
intended for use by bicyclists. See AASHTO Guide, 5.2.2, Shared Use 
Paths Adjacent to Roadways (Sidepaths).
Public Right-of-Way
    The SNPRM would revise the proposed definition of public right-of-
way in R105.5 to read as follows:
    Public Right-of-Way. Public land acquired for or dedicated to 
transportation purposes, or other land where there is a legally 
established right for use by the public for transportation purposes.
    The NPRM proposed to define public right-of-way as public land or 
property, usually in interconnected corridors, that is acquired for or 
dedicated to transportation purposes. Some shared use paths may cross 
private land. In these situations, an easement or other legal means is 
used to establish a right for the public to use the portion of the land 
that the shared use path crosses for transportation purposes. The SNPRM 
would revise the proposed definition of public right-of-way to include 
these situations.

R204 and R302 Pedestrian Access Routes

    The SNPRM would revise these sections relating to pedestrian access 
routes.

R204.2 Pedestrian Circulation Paths

    The SNPRM would revise R204.2 to read as follows:
    R204.2 Pedestrian Circulation Paths. A pedestrian access route 
shall be provided within pedestrian circulation paths located in the 
public right-of-way. The pedestrian access route shall connect to 
accessible elements, spaces, and facilities required by this document 
and to accessible routes required by section 206.2.1 of appendix B to 
36 CFR part 1191 or section F206.2.1 of appendix C to 36 CFR 1191 that 
connect building and facility entrances to public streets and 
sidewalks.
    As proposed in the NPRM, R204.2 would require a pedestrian access 
route to be provided within sidewalks and other pedestrian circulation 
paths located in the public right-of-way. The NPRM proposed to define a 
pedestrian circulation path as a prepared exterior or interior surface 
provided for pedestrian travel in the public right-of-way. See R105.5. 
Sidewalks and shared use paths are types of pedestrian circulation 
paths. As revised by the SNPRM, the term ``pedestrian circulation 
paths'' in R204.2 includes sidewalks and shared use paths.

R302.3 Continuous Width

    The SNPRM would revise R302.3 to read as follows:
    R302.3 Continuous Width. Except as provided in R302.3.1 and 
R302.3.2, the continuous clear width of pedestrian access routes shall 
be 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum, exclusive of the width of the curb.
    R302.3.1 Medians and Pedestrian Refuge Islands. The clear width of 
pedestrian access routes within medians and pedestrian refuge islands 
shall be 1.5 m (5.0 ft) minimum.
    R302.3.2 Shared Use Paths. A pedestrian access route shall be 
provided for the full width of a shared use path.
    As proposed in the NPRM, R302.3 would require pedestrian access 
routes to be 4 feet wide minimum, except R302.3.1 would require 
pedestrian access routes within medians and pedestrian refuge islands 
to be 5 feet wide minimum to allow for passing space.
    The SNPRM would add a new provision at R302.3.2 that would require 
a pedestrian access route to be provided for the full width of a shared 
use path since shared use paths are typically two-directional and path 
users travel in each direction on the right hand side of the path, 
except to pass. The AASHTO Guide recommends that two-directional shared 
use paths should be 10 feet wide minimum. Where shared use paths are 
anticipated to serve a high percentage of pedestrians and high user 
volumes, the AASHTO Guide recommends that the paths should be 11 to 14 
feet wide to enable a bicyclist to pass another path user travelling in 
the same direction, at the same time a path user is approaching from 
the opposite direction. In certain very rare circumstances, the AASHTO 
Guide permits the width of shared use paths to

[[Page 10113]]

be reduced to 8 feet. See AASHTO Guide, 5.2.1 Width and Clearance.

R302.5 Grade

    The SNPRM would revise R302.5 to read as follows:
    R302.5 Grade. The grade of pedestrian access routes shall comply 
with R302.5.
    R302.5.1 Within Street or Highway Right-of-Way. Except as provided 
in R302.5.3, where pedestrian access routes are contained within a 
street or highway right-of-way, the grade of pedestrian access routes 
shall not exceed the general grade established for the adjacent street 
or highway.
    R302.5.2 Not Within Street or Highway Right-of-Way. Where 
pedestrian access routes are not contained within a street or highway 
right-of-way, the grade of pedestrian access routes shall be 5 percent 
maximum.
    R302.5.3 Within Pedestrian Street Crossings. Where pedestrian 
access routes are contained within a pedestrian street crossing, the 
grade of pedestrian access routes shall be 5 percent maximum.
    R302.5.4 Physical Constraints. Where compliance with R302.5.1 or 
R302.5.2 is not practicable due to existing terrain or infrastructure, 
right-of-way availability, a notable natural feature, or similar 
existing physical constraints, compliance is required to the extent 
practicable.
    R302.5.5 Regulatory Constraints. Where compliance with R302.5.1 or 
R302.5.2 is precluded by federal, state, or local laws the purpose of 
which is to preserve threatened or endangered species; the environment; 
or archaeological, cultural, historical, or significant natural 
features, compliance is required to the extent practicable.
    As proposed in the NPRM, R302.5 would require the grade of 
pedestrian access routes contained within a street or highway right-of-
way, except at pedestrian street crossings, to not exceed the general 
grade established for the adjacent street or highway; and the grade of 
pedestrian access routes not contained within a street or highway 
right-of-way to be 5 percent maximum. R302.5.1 would require the grade 
of pedestrian access routes contained within a pedestrian street 
crossing to be 5 percent maximum.
    The SNPRM would renumber R302.5 to include a general provision in 
R302.5; the specific provision for the grade of pedestrian access 
routes contained within a street or highway right-of-way in R302.5.1; 
the specific provision for the grade of pedestrian access routes not 
contained within a street or highway right-of-way in R302.5.2; and the 
specific provision for the grade of pedestrian access routes contained 
within a pedestrian street crossing in R302.5.3.
    The SNPRM would add new provisions at R302.5.4 and R302.5.5 that 
would require compliance with the grade provisions in R302.5.1 or 
R302.5.2 to the extent practicable where compliance is not practicable 
due to physical constraints and where compliance is precluded by 
regulatory constraints. We propose to add these new provisions in 
response to public comments on the ANPRM, which included draft 
technical provisions for grade similar to those proposed in the R302.5. 
The comments noted that physical or regulatory constraints may prevent 
full compliance with the grade provisions. Physical constraints would 
include existing terrain or infrastructure, right-of-way availability, 
a notable natural feature, or similar existing physical constraints. 
Regulatory constraints would include federal, state, or local laws the 
purpose of which is to preserve threatened or endangered species; the 
environment; or archaeological, cultural, historical, or significant 
natural features.
    The proposed provisions are consistent with the AASHTO Guide. The 
AASHTO Guide recommends that the grade of a shared use path should not 
exceed 5 percent; but, where the path is adjacent to a roadway with a 
grade that exceeds 5 percent, the grade of the path should be less than 
or equal to the roadway grade. The AASHTO Guide notes that grades 
steeper than 5 percent are undesirable because ascents are difficult 
for many path users, and the descents can cause some path users to 
exceed the speeds at which they are competent or comfortable. See 
AASHTO Guide, 5.2.7 Grade.

R210 Protruding Objects

    The SNPRM would revise R210 to read as follows:
    R210.1 General. Protruding objects shall comply with the applicable 
requirements in R210.
    R210.2 Pedestrian Circulation Paths Other Than Shared Use Paths. 
Objects along or overhanging any portion of a pedestrian circulation 
path other than a shared use path shall comply with R402 and shall not 
reduce the clear width required for pedestrian access routes.
    R210.3 Shared Use Paths. Objects shall not overhang or protrude 
into any portion of a shared use path at or below 2.4 m (8.0 ft) 
measured from the finish surface.
    As proposed in the NPRM, R210 would require objects along or 
overhanging any portion of a pedestrian circulation path to comply with 
the proposed technical provisions for protruding objects in R402 and to 
not reduce the clear width required for pedestrian access routes.
    The SNPRM would renumber R210 to include a general provision in 
R210.1 and a specific provision for pedestrian circulation paths other 
than shared use paths in R210.2 that would require objects along or 
overhanging any portion of the path to comply with the proposed 
technical provisions for protruding objects in R402 and to not reduce 
the clear width required for pedestrian access routes, as proposed in 
the NPRM.
    The SNPRM would add a new provision for shared use paths at R210.3 
that would prohibit objects from overhanging or protruding into any 
portion of a shared use path at or below 8 feet measured from the 
finish surface.
    The proposed provision for shared used paths is consistent with the 
AASHTO Guide. The AASHTO Guide recommends 10 feet vertical clearance 
along shared use paths, and 8 feet minimum vertical clearance in 
constrained areas. The AASHTO Guide recommends that fixed objects 
should not be permitted to protrude within the vertical or horizontal 
clearance of a shared use path. See AASHTO Guide, 5.2.1 Width and 
Clearance.

R218 Doors, Doorways, and Gates

    The SNPRM would revise R218 to read as follows:
    R218 Doors, Doorways, and Gates. Except for shared use paths, 
doors, doorways, and gates provided at pedestrian facilities shall 
comply with section 404 of Appendix D to 36 CFR to 36 CFR part 1191.
    The SNPRM would not apply the technical provisions for doors, 
doorways, and gates referenced in R218 to shared use paths to avoid 
conflicts with the AASHTO Guide. The AASHTO Guide does not recommend 
the use of gates or other barriers to prevent unauthorized motor 
vehicle entry to shared use paths because gates and barriers create 
permanent obstacles to path users. The AASHTO Guide recommends 
alternative methods to control unauthorized motor vehicle entry to 
shared use paths, including posting regulatory signs prohibiting motor 
vehicle entry and targeted surveillance and enforcement. Where there is 
a documented history of unauthorized entry by motor vehicles despite 
the use of alternative methods to control such entry, the need for 
bollards or other vertical barriers may be justified. The AASHTO Guide 
includes

[[Page 10114]]

recommended designs for bollards where justified. The AASHTO Guide 
recommends the use of one bollard in the center of the shared use path. 
Where more than one bollard is used, the AASHTO Guide recommends an odd 
number of posts spaced at 6 feet. The AASHTO Guide does not recommend 
two posts since they direct opposing path users toward the middle, 
creating conflict and the possibility of a head-on collision. See 
AASHTO Guide, 5.3.5 Other Intersection Treatments.

R304 Curb Ramps and Blended Transitions

    The SNPRM would revise R304.5.1 to read as follows:
    R304.5.1 Width. The width of curb ramps and blended transitions 
shall comply with 304.5.1.1 or 304.5.1.2, as applicable. If provided, 
flared sides of curb ramp runs and blended transitions shall be located 
outside the width of the curb ramp run or blended transition.
    R304.5.1.1 Pedestrian Circulation Paths Other Than Shared Use 
Paths. In pedestrian circulation paths other than shared use paths, the 
clear width of curb ramp runs, blended transitions, and turning spaces 
shall be 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum.
    R304.5.1.2 Shared Use Paths. In shared use paths, the width of curb 
ramps runs and blended transitions shall be equal to the width of the 
shared use path.
    As proposed in the NPRM, R304.5.1 would require the clear width of 
curb ramp runs (excluding flared sides), blended transitions, and 
turning spaces to be 4 feet minimum.
    The SNPRM would renumber R304.5.1 to include a general provision in 
R304.5.1 that would clarify that if flared sides are provided at curb 
ramps and blended transitions, the flared sides are to be located 
outside the width of the curb ramp run or blended transition; and a 
specific provision for pedestrian circulation paths other than shared 
use paths in R304.5.1.1 that would require the clear width of curb ramp 
runs, blended transitions, and turning spaces to be 4 feet minimum, as 
proposed in the NPRM.
    The SNPRM would add a new provision for shared use paths at 
R304.5.1.2 that would require the width of curb ramps runs and blended 
transitions to be equal to the width of the shared use path.
    The proposed provision for shared used paths is consistent with the 
AASHTO Guide. The AASHTO Guide recommends that where curb ramps are 
provided on shared use paths, the curb ramps should extend the full 
width of the path, not including any flared sides. See AASHTO Guide, 
5.3.5 Other Intersection Treatments.

4. Comparison of Proposed Technical Provisions Applicable to Shared Use 
Paths and AASHTO Guide

    The proposed technical provisions applicable to shared used paths 
in the proposed accessibility guidelines for pedestrian facilities in 
the public right-of-way, as supplemented by the SNPRM, and the design 
criteria for shared use paths in the AASHTO Guide are compared in the 
table below.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Proposed accessibility guidelines
  for pedestrian facilities in the   AASHTO Guide for the development of
    public right-of-way Proposed      bicycle facilities (2012) Chapter
 technical provisions applicable to     5: design of shared use paths
          shared use paths
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R302.3.2 Shared Use Paths. A         5.2.1 Width and Clearance
 pedestrian access route shall be    The minimum paved width for a two-
 provided for the full width of a     directional shared use path is 10
 shared use path.                     ft (3.0 m). * * * In very rare
                                      circumstances, a reduced width of
                                      8 ft (2.4 m) may be used. * * *
                                      Wider pathways, 11 to 14 ft (3.4
                                      to 4.2 m) are recommended in
                                      locations that are anticipated to
                                      serve a high percentage of
                                      pedestrians (30 percent or more of
                                      the total pathway volume) and
                                      higher user volumes (more than 300
                                      total users in the peak hour).
R302.5 Grade. The grade of           5.2.7 Grade
 pedestrian access routes shall      The maximum grade of a shared use
 comply with R302.5.                  path adjacent to a roadway should
R302.5.1 Within Street or Highway     be 5 percent, but the grade should
 Right-of-Way. Except as provided     generally match the grade of the
 in R302.5.3, where pedestrian        adjacent roadway. Where a shared
 access routes are contained within   use path runs along a roadway with
 a street or highway right-of-way,    a grade that exceeds 5 percent,
 the grade of pedestrian access       the sidepath grade may exceed 5
 routes shall not exceed the          percent but must be less than or
 general grade established for the    equal to the roadway grade. Grades
 adjacent street or highway.          on shared use paths in independent
R302.5.2 Not Within Street or         rights-of-way should be kept to a
 Highway Right-of-Way. Where          minimum. Grades steeper than 5
 pedestrian access routes are not     percent are undesirable because
 contained within a street or         the ascents are difficult for many
 highway right-of-way, the grade of   path users, and the descents can
 pedestrian access routes shall be    cause some users to exceed the
 5 percent maximum.                   speeds at which they are competent
R302.5.3 Within Pedestrian Street     or comfortable. * * * Grades on
 Crossings. Where pedestrian access   paths in independent rights-of-way
 routes are contained within a        should also be limited to 5
 pedestrian street crossing, the      percent maximum.
 grade of pedestrian access routes
 shall be 5 percent maximum.
R302.5.4 Physical Constraints.
 Where compliance with R302.5.1 or
 R302.5.2 is not practicable due to
 existing terrain or
 infrastructure, right-of-way
 availability, a notable natural
 feature, or similar existing
 physical constraints, compliance
 is required to the extent
 practicable.
R302.5.5 Regulatory Constraints.
 Where compliance with 302.5.1 or
 302.5.2 is precluded by federal,
 state, or local laws the purpose
 of which is to preserve threatened
 or endangered species; the
 environment; or archaeological,
 cultural, historical, or
 significant natural features,
 compliance is required to the
 extent practicable.
R302.6 Cross Slope. Except as        5.2.5 Cross Slope
 provided in R302.6.1 and R302.6.2,  As described in the previous
 the cross slope of pedestrian        section, 1 percent cross slopes
 access routes shall be 2 percent     are recommended on shared use
 maximum.                             paths, to better accommodate
R302.6.1 Pedestrian Street            people with disabilities and to
 Crossings Without Yield or Stop      provide enough slope to convey
 Control. Where pedestrian access     surface drainage in most
 routes are contained within          situations.
 pedestrian street crossings
 without yield or stop control, the
 cross slope of the pedestrian
 access route shall be 5 percent
 maximum.

[[Page 10115]]

 
R302.6.2 Midblock Pedestrian Street
 Crossings. Where pedestrian access
 routes are contained within
 midblock pedestrian street
 crossings, the cross slope of the
 pedestrian access route shall be
 permitted to equal the street or
 highway grade.
R302.7 Surfaces. The surfaces of     5.2.9 Surface Structure
 pedestrian access routes and        Hard, all-weather pavement surfaces
 elements and spaces required to      are generally preferred over those
 comply with R302.7 that connect to   of crushed aggregate, sand, clay,
 pedestrian access routes shall be    or stabilized earth.* * * Unpaved
 firm, stable, and slip resistant     surfaces may be appropriate on
 and shall comply with R302.7.        rural paths, where the intended
R302.7.1 Vertical Alignment.          use of the path is primarily
 Vertical alignment shall be          recreational, or as a temporary
 generally planar within pedestrian   measure to open a path before
 access routes (including curb ramp   funding is available for paving.
 runs, blended transitions, turning   Unpaved pathways should be
 spaces, and gutter areas within      constructed of materials that are
 pedestrian access routes) and        firm and stable. * * * It is
 surfaces at other elements and       important to construct and
 spaces required to comply with       maintain a smooth riding surface
 R302.7 that connect to pedestrian    on shared use paths.* * * Utility
 access routes. Grade breaks shall    covers (i.e., manholes) and
 be flush. Where pedestrian access    bicycle-compatible drainage grates
 routes cross rails at grade, the     should be flush with the surface
 pedestrian access route surface      of the pavement on all sides.* * *
 shall be level and flush with the    Railroad crossings should be
 top of rail at the outer edges of    smooth and should be designed at
 the rails, and the surface between   an angle between 60 and 90 degrees
 the rails shall be aligned with      to the direction of travel to
 the top of rail.                     minimize the possibility of falls.
R302.7.2 Vertical Surface
 Discontinuities. Vertical surface
 discontinuities shall be 13 mm
 (0.5 in) maximum. Vertical surface
 discontinuities between 6.4 mm
 (0.25 in) and 13 mm (0.5 in) shall
 be beveled with a slope not
 steeper than 50 percent. The bevel
 shall be applied across the entire
 vertical surface discontinuity.
R302.7.3 Horizontal Openings.
 Horizontal openings in gratings
 and joints shall not permit
 passage of a sphere more than 13
 mm (0.5 in) in diameter. Elongated
 openings in gratings shall be
 placed so that the long dimension
 is perpendicular to the dominant
 direction of travel.
R302.7.4 Flangeway Gaps. Flangeway
 gaps at pedestrian at-grade rail
 crossings shall be 64 mm (2.5 in)
 maximum on non-freight rail track
 and 75 mm (3 in) maximum on
 freight rail track.
R210.3 Shared Use Paths. Objects     5.2.1 Width and Clearance
 shall not overhang or protrude      The desirable vertical clearance to
 into any portion of a shared use     obstructions is 10 ft (3.0 m).
 path at or below 2.4 m (8.0 ft)      Fixed objects should not be
 measured from the finish surface.    permitted to protrude within the
                                      vertical or horizontal clearance
                                      of a shared use path. The
                                      recommended minimum vertical
                                      clearance that can be used in
                                      constrained areas is 8 ft (2.4 m).
R304.5.1.2 Shared Use Paths. In      5.3.5 Other Intersection Treatments
 shared use paths, the width of      The opening of a shared use path at
 curb ramps runs and blended          the roadway should be at least the
 transitions shall be equal to the    same width as the shared use path
 width of the shared use path.        itself. If a curb ramp is
R305.1.4 Size. Detectable warning     provided, the ramp should be the
 surfaces shall extend 610 mm (2.0    full width of the path, not
 ft) minimum in the direction of      including any flared sides if
 pedestrian travel. At curb ramps     utilized.* * * Detectable warnings
 and blended transitions,             should be placed across the full
 detectable warning surfaces shall    width of the ramp.
 extend the full width of the ramp
 run (excluding any flared sides).
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5. Conflicts Between Shared Path Users

    Public comments submitted in response to the ANPRM expressed 
concern about the risk of collisions between pedestrians who are blind 
or have low vision and bicyclists who pass them too closely at fast 
speeds, and at intersections where a shared use path crosses another 
shared use path or a sidewalk. According to the AASHTO Guide, the 85th 
percentile speed for recreational bicyclists is 18 miles per hour. See 
AASHTO Guide, 5.2.4 Design Speed. The comments noted that bicycles are 
relatively quiet and pedestrians who are blind or have low vision may 
not be aware when bicyclists are approaching and passing them or 
crossing their path at intersections. Pedestrians with other 
disabilities may also have limited awareness of approaching bicyclists. 
For example, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may not be 
aware of a bicycle approaching from behind even when riders indicate 
their presence audibly. Individuals with limited mobility who may be 
alert to bicyclists may find it difficult to move aside in time to 
avoid collision. The comments recommended that traffic on shared use 
paths be regulated and strictly enforced in order to protect 
pedestrians. For example, a comment stated that bicyclists should be 
required to always yield to pedestrians. The comments also recommended 
design solutions to avoid conflicts between users, including separate 
pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists; and detectable warning 
surfaces at intersections where a shared use path crosses another 
shared use path or a sidewalk. These design solutions are discussed 
below.

Separate Pathways for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

    An organization representing individuals who are blind and have 
low-vision stated that ``all shared use paths present an unacceptable 
safety risk to blind or visually impaired pedestrians unless there is a 
clear separation between pedestrians and other motorized and non-
motorized vehicles including bicyclists.'' The comments noted that path 
users cannot be expected to always follow the ``rules of the road'' and 
suggested that if paths cannot be physically separated that lanes for 
pedestrians and other users should be marked tactilely. An organization 
of educators and rehabilitation professionals who work with individuals 
who are blind suggested that blind pedestrians may have considerable 
difficulty maintaining the course, particularly on two-

[[Page 10116]]

directional shared use paths where all users are expected to travel on 
the right hand side of the path in each direction and bicyclists pass 
pedestrians and slower moving path users on their left hand side. In 
addition to the recommendation to physically separate pedestrians and 
bicyclists, the comments suggested that it may be necessary to separate 
the two directions of travel within each pathway, particularly on busy 
paths. The comments, however, acknowledged that determining what volume 
of users should require two-directional separation would be a 
challenge.
    The AASHTO Guide makes a number of recommendations to minimize 
conflicts between pedestrians and bicyclists. These recommendations 
include required sight triangles to ensure that bicyclists have the 
needed yielding distance to avoid conflicts, and additional width 
around horizontal curves to allow safe distance between users. See 
AASHTO 5.2.8, Stopping Sight Distance. The AAHSTO Guide also recommends 
use of a centerline stripe within a path to provide directional 
separation and to indicate when passing is permitted. For paths with 
``extremely heavy volume'', the AASHTO Guide recommends two 
alternatives for segregation of pedestrians and bicyclists. The first 
option is to provide separate lanes within a single path; pedestrians 
have a bidirectional lane and bicyclists have two one-directional 
lanes. Such separation is not recommended unless a minimum path width 
of 15 feet can be provided (10 feet for bicycles and 5 feet for 
pedestrians). A second alternative is to physically separate user 
groups, particularly where the pathway volume is ``extremely heavy'' 
and where sites and settings, such as one that constricts the path 
width, necessitate divergent pathways. Physically separated pathways 
also are recommended where the origins and destinations of pedestrians 
and bicyclists differ. The AAHSTO Guide notes that both alternatives 
(lane separation and physical separation) may not be effective unless 
the volume of bicycle traffic is sufficient to discourage pedestrians 
from encroaching into the bicycle lanes and that these solutions will 
not necessarily be needed for the full length of a shared use path. See 
AASHTO Guide, 5.2.1 Width and Clearance.
    We agree with the comments that physical separation between 
pedestrians and other users would likely render shared use paths safer 
for, and more accessible to, individuals with disabilities and others. 
However, the AASHTO Guide does not recommend physical separation of 
user groups unless the traffic volume or other considerations make 
separate pathways necessary. The AASHTO Guide provides little guidance 
regarding methods for determining the point at which traffic volume or 
other considerations would justify separation of the pathways. In the 
absence of any data on which to base such a requirement, we are not 
proposing to require physically separated pathways for pedestrians and 
bicyclists. The impact of such a requirement if applied to the full 
length of all shared use paths would likely result in many not being 
constructed due to the increased costs associated with more land and 
the need to engineer and construct two pathways instead of one.
    The comments suggested that enhanced signage and warnings, 
including audible signs and tactile pavement markings would improve the 
ability of blind pedestrians to remain within their lanes. In Great 
Britain, tactile pavement markings are used to indicate bicycle and 
pedestrian lanes. A ladder pattern is used to indicate the start and 
end of the pedestrian lane; a tramline pattern is used to indicate the 
start and end of the bicycle lane; and a tactile dividing line is used 
to indicate the separation between the lanes.\3\ At least one U.S. 
manufacturer makes tactile pavement markings for shared use paths. We 
request comments on whether tactile pavement markings have been used on 
any shared use paths in the U.S. and the experience with such markings. 
We also request comments on other design solutions to reduce potential 
conflicts between pedestrians who are blind or have low vision and 
bicyclists. Comments should include factors that would make such 
solutions necessary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Department of Transport, ``Tactile Markings for Segregated 
Shared Use by Cyclists and Pedestrians'' [available at: http://www.ukroads.org/webfiles/TAL%204-90%20Tactile%20Markings%20for%20Segregated%20Shared%20Use.pdf]; 
Department for Transport, ``Guidance on the Use of Tactile Paving 
Surfaces, ``Chapter 5--Segregated Shared Cycle Track/Footway Surface 
and Central Delineator Strip [available at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/guidance-on-the-use-of-tactile-paving-surfaces/]; and 
Department of Transport,'' Shared Use Routes for Pedestrians and 
Cyclists,'' Chapter 6--General Design Considerations, 6.18 and 6.19 
[available at: http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/ltn-01-12/shared-use-routes-for-pedestrians-and-cyclists.pdf].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We are considering including an advisory section in the final 
accessibility guidelines on separate pathways for pedestrians and 
bicyclists. Advisory sections are not mandatory requirements but 
provide guidance for entities who want to exceed the minimum 
requirements for accessible design. We request comments on information 
to include in the advisory section.

Detectable Warning Surfaces at Shared Use Path Intersections

    Detectable warning surfaces consist of small truncated domes that 
are integral to a walking surface and that are detectable underfoot. 
The proposed accessibility guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the 
public right-of-way would require the use of detectable warning 
surfaces to indicate the boundary between a pedestrian route and a 
vehicular route where there is a curb ramp or blended transition; and 
the boundary of passenger boarding platforms at transit stops for buses 
and rail vehicles and at passenger boarding and alighting areas at 
sidewalk or street level transit stops for rail vehicles. See R208 and 
R305.
    Because pedestrians who are blind would not be aware of bicyclists 
approaching from the left or right hand side at intersections, we are 
considering including a requirement in the final accessibility 
guidelines to provide detectable warning surfaces where a shared use 
path intersects another shared use path or a sidewalk to indicate the 
boundaries where bicyclists may be crossing the intersection. The edge 
of the detectable warning surface would be installed between 6 inches 
minimum and 12 inches maximum from the edge of the intersecting 
segments of the shared use paths and sidewalks. The detectable warning 
surface would extend 2 feet minimum in the direction of pedestrian 
travel and the full width of the intersecting segments. We request 
comments on this issue.

6. Regulatory Analyses

    We prepared a preliminary regulatory assessment discussing the cost 
and benefits of the proposed accessibility guidelines for pedestrian 
facilities in the public right-of-way and an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis of the impacts on small governmental jurisdictions 
with a population of less than 50,000 when the NPRM was issued. These 
regulatory analyses are available on our Web site at: http://www.access-board.gov/prowac/.
    There is no database available on the number of shared use paths in 
the United States. AASHTO surveyed five state transportation 
departments when preparing comments on the ANPRM. The responding 
departments reported approximately 1,500 to 3,000 miles of existing 
shared use paths in their states. The Alliance for Biking and Walking 
surveyed more than 50 large cities about

[[Page 10117]]

their bicycle and pedestrian facilities.\4\ The average number of miles 
of existing shared use paths per city was 70 miles, and ranged from 3.1 
miles in Milwaukee to 328 miles in New York City. The cities used 
federal funds to construct many of the shared use paths.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ Alliance for Biking and Walking, ``Bicycling and Walking in 
the United States 2012 Benchmarking Report.''
    The report is available at: http://www.peoplepoweredmovement.org/site/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As discussed above, the proposed technical provisions applicable to 
shared use paths are consistent with the AASHTO Guide. State and local 
government entities that design and construct shared use paths 
generally use the AASHTO Guide. The SNPRM is not expected to increase 
the costs of constructing shared use paths for state and local 
government entities that use the AASHTO Guide.
    We request comments on the following to assess the impacts of the 
SNPRM:
     The extent to which the AASHTO Guide, or other design 
guides and standards are used for shared use paths.
     Whether any of the proposed provisions applicable to 
shared use paths would result in additional costs for design work, 
materials, earthmoving, retaining structures, or other items compared 
to construction practices or design guides and standards currently 
used? Commenters are encouraged to identify the specific provisions 
that would result in additional costs and estimate the additional costs 
on a per mile basis to the extent possible.
     Whether any of the proposed provisions applicable to 
shared use paths would result in any additional costs, such as 
maintenance and operational costs, compared to current practices? 
Commenters are encouraged to identify the specific provisions that 
would result in additional costs and estimate the additional costs on a 
per mile basis to the extent possible.
     What are the benefits of the proposed provisions 
applicable to shared use paths?

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 1190

    Buildings and facilities, Civil rights, Individuals with 
disabilities, Transportation.

Susan Brita,
Chair.
[FR Doc. 2013-03298 Filed 2-12-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8150-01-P