9. INDUSTRY, INNOVATION, AND INFRASTRUCTURE

New U.S. Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines Arrive as Cities Focus on Walkability

New U.S. Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines Arrive as Cities Focus on Walkability
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

New U.S. Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines Arrive as …  Nation’s Cities Weekly

New U.S. Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines Arrive as Cities Focus on Walkability

Co Authored with: Ndemazea Fonkem, Federal Advocacy Intern at the National League of Cities

Note: The terms “disabled person” and “person with a disability” will be used interchangeably. Person-first and identity-first language both hold importance in the evolving discussions of disability, and it is often the person themselves who decides which language they prefer. Learn more about person-first and identity-first language here. 

Walking is the second most common mode of transportation for Americans with disabilities, outpacing public transportation by a factor of four.

  1. An average of 65 percent of curb ramps and 48 percent of sidewalks across the country were not fully accessible to those who struggle with mobility.
  2. Realtors and developers are prioritizing accessibility using “walk scores” and other neighborhood amenities as ways to increase value in both urban and suburban neighborhoods by an average of 23.5 percent.

“This is the first step in ensuring all modes of transport – bus, bike, or walk – are designed with disabled people in mind.”

New Accessibility Guidance to Use  

  1. The U.S. Access Board published new public right-of-way guidelines (PROWAG) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) to become more consistent with the latest technology and building methods to ensure inclusion for people with disabilities.
  2. The public right-of-way guidelines address access to sidewalks and streets, crosswalks, curb ramps, pedestrian signals, on-street parking and other components of public rights-of-way.
  3. All major U.S. cities have public transportation fleets that are fully wheelchair-accessible, but this is the first step in ensuring all modes of transport – bus, bike, or walk – are designed with disabled people in mind.

City planners and city officials alike should familiarize themselves with the new public right-of-way guidelines standards to guarantee the inclusion of all abilities in new development. These guidelines review shared-use paths, which are designed primarily for use by bicyclists and pedestrians for transportation and recreation purposes. These guidelines inform federal, state, and local government agencies on how to make their pedestrian facilities, such as sidewalks, crosswalks, shared-use paths and on-street parking, accessible to people with disabilities. All local governments should be aware of the change and consider how new guidance can inform their upgrades. 
 
The Access Board has released a new series of training videos here for local governments to use:  

Accessibility Gains for Walking  

The ADA was landmark legislation passed over 30 years ago ensuring legal protection against discrimination in public life against disabled people, and it continues to improve transportation accessibility as each individual project gets an update and becomes more accessible. However, some estimates of transportation infrastructure spending found that only 1 percent of spending is dedicated to walking facilities, despite 11 percent of trips in the U.S. being taken by foot. With demands for both pedestrian safety and walkable communities, increasing the share of trips walked or rolled must factor in those with disabilities and their access to cities, towns and villages. As Safe Street initiatives take off across the country, creating safe pedestrian walkways and walkable communities for all needs to put all needs and abilities at the forefront.  

How Accessibility is Gaining in Tempe, AZ 

In Tempe, AZ, the city worked to create an ADA Transition Plan, a comprehensive exploration of public spaces. From parks to crosswalks, the Tempe Planning Department alongside their Office of Strategic Management and Diversity identified barriers to accessibility, ranked them along a scale of severity, and from there were able to access partnerships with state and federal agencies to gain the funding for maintenance and development.  

This transition plan is part of a larger conversation opened in Tempe about what it means to create accessible places. Mayor Corey Woods passed a proclamation on the 30th Anniversary of ADA’s passing, reaffirming the goals of the bill: equality of opportunity, full participation, economic self-sufficiency, and independent living for people with disabilities. With disabled Tempeans at the forefront, there is no surprise that Tempe ranks in the top five cities for individuals with disabilities to live. 

Ask Any ADA Questions  

The Access Board provides free technical assistance on accessibility guidelines and standards through its helpline at 1-202-272-0080, extension 3, and by email at ta@access-board.gov. For technical assistance specifically on accessibility of public right-of-way, including sidewalks, street crossings, and other pedestrian used features, email row@access-board.gov

Additional Resources: 

About the Author

Brittney Kohler is the Legislative Director of Transportation and Infrastructure at the National League of Cities.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

  • SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

  • SDG 11.2: By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.
  • SDG 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.
  • SDG 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

  • Percentage of curb ramps and sidewalks that are fully accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Percentage increase in home values in neighborhoods with high walk scores and accessibility.
  • Percentage of spending dedicated to walking facilities in transportation infrastructure projects.
  • Ranking of cities based on accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

4. Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities Target 11.2: By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons. – Percentage of curb ramps and sidewalks that are fully accessible to people with disabilities.
– Percentage increase in home values in neighborhoods with high walk scores and accessibility.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being Target 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination. – Percentage of spending dedicated to walking facilities in transportation infrastructure projects.
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status. – Ranking of cities based on accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: nlc.org

 

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