Legal E-Bulletin - July 2014

Accessible Sidewalks

Nicole E. Robbins

I. Introduction

            Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), much of the advocacy, litigation, and discussion around accessibility has centered around buildings. Buildings are, after all, the courthouses, schools, grocery and retail stores, restaurants, libraries, hospitals, doctors offices, polling places, bus depots, train or subway stations, and airports our society. They are the places where state and local governments, as well businesses and other places of public accommodation, do whatever they do. They are the places we go to learn; where we buy food, goods, and services; where we go when we are hurt or sick; where we work; and where we exercise civic responsibilities.

            In the focus on buildings, sidewalks may ignored. But the importance of sidewalks cannot be understated. In addition to providing safe areas for pedestrians to travel along the streets—the connecting pathways between all those important buildings—sidewalks have served as places of public discourse, places to protest, places where people transact business, places to distribute information, and places to meet old or new friends. In short, sidewalks are fundamental to our social, economic, and political lives.

            Recently, a renewed focus on sidewalks has begun in the disability law and justice community. Courts are starting to take up the issue of accessible sidewalks and agencies such as the Access Board are working on new guidelines. The DOJ is also addressing sidewalk issues through Project Civic Access.

            This paper will discuss the legal framework governing sidewalk accessibility. Second, this paper will attempt to summarize covered entities’ general responsibilities with respect to sidewalk accessibility. Third, the paper will discuss particular issues with respect to construction projects affecting the sidewalks.

II. Legal Background

            The law of sidewalk accessibility is being shaped on multiple fronts. The Americans with Disabilities Act and its amendments provide a basic statutory framework for the multitude of regulations and guidelines issued at both the federal and state levels. The courts of appeal have differing interpretations of what a sidewalk should be considered to be under the ADA. Finally, the U.S. Department of Justice is using alternative dispute resolution to enforce the ADA through its Project Civic Access.

A. The Americans with Disabilities Act and its Amendments

            When Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, it found that “individuals with disabilities continually encounter various forms of discrimination including . . . the discriminatory effects of architectural, communication, and transportation barriers”.[1] The ADA was later amended in 2008 in response to court cases that limited the definition of “an individual with a disability”.[2] In effect, Congress sought to reemphasize the broad coverage of the ADA as civil rights law.[3] The ADA applies to new construction or alterations made after January 26, 1992.[4] In terms of sidewalks, an “alteration” includes repaving or resurfacing the street (but not filling a pothole).[5]

B. Court Cases on Sidewalk Accessibility

            There is a split in the courts of appeal on where exactly sidewalks fall under the ADA. The Fifth Circuit has determined that sidewalks are a “service, program, or activity” of a public entity (e.g., municipality) and are therefore covered under the ADA’s Title II.[6] The 9th Circuit has determined that the focus should not be on whether sidewalks are a “service, program, or activity” but whether they are a normal function of a government entity.[7] Both courts eventually decided that sidewalks, in and of themselves, are covered under the ADA.

C. Existing (and in Progress) Rules and Regulations

            The most current general accessibility guidance available is the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (“2010 Standards”). Sidewalks are addressed in the 2010 Standards insofar as the sidewalks constitute part of an accessible “path of travel” (the route into and through a dwelling).[8] The requirements for accessible paths of travel also apply to dwellings covered under the Fair Housing Act; regulations and guidelines indicate that covered multifamily dwellings must have an accessible route between an accessible entrance and parking or public transportation.[9]

            Currently, the Access Board is reviewing comments to its proposed guidelines on Sidewalks and Public Rights of Way.[10] It is uncertain when these guidelines will come into effect. In the meantime, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued a “best practices” guide adopting many of the Access Board’s proposed standards.[11] This guide is not authoritative; however, it is consistent with the 2010 Standards and can be used as supplemental guidance where something is not fully addressed in the 2010 Standards.[12]

            The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), most recently revised in 2009, provides guidelines for accessible pedestrian signals.[13] The MUTCD has been adopted in some states, either as a national standard or with a state supplement.[14] Texas adopted the national MUTCD in 2011.[15]

            Additionally, some state or local laws or Homeowners’ Association (HOA) policies provide that certain sidewalks are the responsibility of the adjoining business or homeowner.[16] Donald also proposes that one way to help cities pay for and complete sidewalk repairs is to make homeowners pay for sidewalk repairs at the point of sale.[17]

D. Project Civic Access

            The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), which is responsible for enforcing Title II and Title III of the ADA, started Project Civic Access in the late 1990s.[18] Under the project, DOJ investigates cities and towns for compliance with the ADA and then enters into Settlement Agreements with the city or town in question. The Settlement Agreement sets out an action plan for the city (or county) to make itself more ADA compliant. The DOJ’s investigation focuses on critical services, such as access to transportation, and city (or state) facilities, such as courthouses, major tourist attractions, and universities. The resulting settlement agreement is posted online on the Project Civic Access Website.[19] Sidewalk accessibility is addressed at least preliminarily in many of the agreements, if only to urge the city to provide processes for citizens to report complaints and to conduct a review to determine which sidewalks or streets have been built or altered since the ADA became effective and make sure those street corners have accessible curb ramps.[20]

III. Some Common Issues Regarding Accessible Sidewalks

            The traditional notion of a “path of travel” is linear and primarily one-dimensional, at least figuratively. A person walks along a particular route to get somewhere.[21] The person can see objects in the path and step over them, duck under them, or navigate around them, usually with little inconvenience. The person can hear someone telling them to be careful because around the corner there is an open manhole. The traditional notion of a pedestrian does not take into account differences of ability (or experience) that may prevent the person from navigating over uneven ground, going around an object on the path, detecting an object above the ground, or reading or interpreting detour signs used by drivers.

            An accessible path of travel, however, should be thought of more like a three-dimensional tunnel. It encompasses not only the linear one-dimensional pathway but the space above and around the pathway. It must be smooth enough for a person with a mobility device to travel over safely; it must be firm and non-slippery, so that a person with poor balance does not fall;[22] and it must be free from obstructions on the ground that may block access for someone with a mobility device,[23] and free from obstructions that protrude into the path but do not touch the ground, which may not be detectable for someone with a vision impairment using a white cane.[24] Additionally, any instructions for using the path, such as detour signs, must be usable by people with a variety of abilities and experiences, including people with hearing and/or vision impairments and people who, for whatever reason, have never taken drivers’ education or cannot read in the language written on the sign.[25]

            An accessible path of travel is, in short, the overarching principle of sidewalk accessibility because that is precisely what sidewalks are designed to provide: A pathway for pedestrians to get from one place to another.

            Sidewalk width. One of the major questions when designing a sidewalk is how wide the  sidewalk should be. This question appears to have no easy answer. Appropriate sidewalk width is determined by many factors, including how busy the particular sidewalk is. The 2011 Proposed Guidelines recommend that sidewalks be at least 4 feet wide, exclusive of the curb. However, where sidewalks are less than 5 feet wide, passing spaces of 5-by-5 feet should be provided every 200 feet.[26] Of course, street corners must be wider than the sidewalk proper in most circumstances so that people using wheelchairs or other mobility devices have room to turn around or change direction at the corner.[27]

            Street Crossings. An accessible path of travel along the sidewalks also includes accessible street crossing areas. An accessible street crossing area includes curb ramps for people who use wheelchairs to access the curb. Crosswalks should span the width of the curb ramp and also a portion of the curb, so that both people using wheelchairs and people who prefer to use the curb can access the crosswalk without being exposed to oncoming traffic in the street.[28] Street crossing without crosswalks can be especially dangerous for people who use wheelchairs because wheelchair users are typically lower to the ground and not as visible to drivers.[29]

            Protruding Objects. Objects that protrude more than 4 inches into the path of travel must be cane detectable.[30] An object is not cane detectable if it is located between between 24 and 72 inches above the ground.[31] Even if protruding objects are cane detectable, they may also cause accessibility problems if they block the clear space necessary for a person with a mobility device to traverse the sidewalk.[32] Tree roots, trashcans, benches, light or telephone poles, street signs, newspaper dispensers, bus shelters, and other objects placed in the sidewalk should not block the path of travel for someone using a wheelchair or other mobility device.[33]

            Paving Surfaces. The FHWA Best Practices Guide indicates that concrete, when dry, is an acceptable paving surface because it is firm, relatively smooth, and non-slippery.[34] However, composite rock, flagstone, or cobblestone are not accessible forms of paving: Despite its appearance as a firm surface, composite or crushed rock is relatively slippery.[35] Flagstone or cobblestone have potential to create a bumpy ride or be difficult to traverse for people who use wheelchairs and may create tripping hazards for people with vision impairments or poor balance.

            Detectable Warnings. Right now, detectable warnings are required at train platforms, but there is confusion about whether detectable warnings are required at other places leading into the street such as curb ramps.[36] The Access Board is going to address this issue in their guidelines on Public Rights of Way.

            Pedestrian Signals. Pedestrian crossing signals need to be accessible to all potential users.[37] This includes people with mobility impairments, people with vision impairments, people with hearing impairments, and people with cognitive impairments. Standards for accessible pedestrian signals are located in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).[38] The MUTCD standards cover everything from the location of the signal activator, to vibro-tactile and auditory (as well as visual) components of pedestrian signals.[39] Accessible Pedestrian Signals are also likely to be addressed in the Access Board’s Guidelines on Public Rights-of-Way.[40]

IV. Sidewalk Accessibility and Detectable Warnings During Construction Projects  

            Traditionally, municipalities or other covered entities have only worried about detours for cars during construction. Failure to create specific detours for pedestrians, especially in areas where pedestrians are likely to be traveling, can result in pedestrians using the street. This increases the risk that pedestrians will be hit by cars, who may not expect the pedestrians to be in the street or simply may not see them. This risk is even higher for people with disabilities, who may not be able to easily detect or avoid oncoming traffic or who may be too low to the ground to be easily seen by drivers.

            Furthermore, the ADA does not stop being enforceable when the workday ends or when construction is going on. Accessible detours and warnings for pedestrians with disabilities need to be worked into any long-term construction project planning to make the construction process occur as efficiently and safely as possible, while minimizing disruption to pedestrians, drivers, and anyone else using the roads or sidewalks.[41]

A. Sidewalk Accessibility and Detectable Warnings During Construction Projects

            Covered entities are responsible for maintaining the accessibility of pedestrian routes during construction projects.[42] This includes making sure a detour path for pedestrians exists and is well marked. The path should follow the accessibility guidelines, e.g. provisions for temporary wheelchair ramps over uneven terrain and pathways that are wide enough and as smooth and non-slippery as possible for people with mobility devices.[43] The material used for constructing temporary paths and bridges should be firm and smooth and must be able to support the weight of heavy wheelchairs and mobility devices without collapsing.[44] Additionally, adequate detectable warnings must be provided along the temporary path of travel for people with vision impairments to be able to safely navigate around the construction.[45]

B. Public Transportation Access During Sidewalk Construction

            Accessibility to public transportation poses particular issues for people with disabilities during construction.[46]  If the sidewalk is blocked or closed off during construction, then people with disabilities may face multiple issues. If curb ramp access is blocked, people who use wheelchairs or are otherwise unable to climb the curb may be prevented from getting to the bus stop or may be unable to get close enough to see the signs for the bus route detour. Also, if the area is inadequately marked or not separated from the bus stop, bus travelers may actually not be a safe distance from the construction.

            Many bus systems design their wheelchair lifts or ramps to deploy onto the sidewalk. If the bus stop itself is blocked by the construction, but the city still determines that the bus route can operate without using a detour, the bus may pick passengers up in the street. The wheelchair lift may not be able to descend all the way down into the street or may not be able to deploy at all, due to lack of a smooth and firm surface at the pick-up area. If a wheelchair ramp is used, deploying the ramp in the street instead of on the much higher sidewalk may make the ramp angle too steep, causing people using wheelchairs to get stuck, bottom out on the ramp, or tip over forward getting off the bus. Furthermore, because the route is still deemed “usable,” public transportation agencies may not provide adequate notice that the stop is inaccessible to wheelchairs.[47]

C. Notice to the Public of Construction Impacting the Sidewalks

            The MUTCD indicates the need to warn pedestrians and other impacted individuals of construction projects.[48] Traditional warning methods have focused almost exclusively on warning of street construction projects without taking into account the unique needs of pedestrians to have access to sidewalks, crosswalks, and public transportation—and the need for notice if any of these things are disrupted. Additionally, under the ADA’s “effective communication” requirement, such notice must be provided in accessible formats so that people with disabilities can access the information.[49]

            The traditional mode of warning of street construction, through the radio, which many people have in their cars, is ineffective for warning pedestrians, who typically do not have access to radios when traveling.[50] Currently, individuals concerned about the condition of the sidewalks must call their local general information number to get information about the sidewalks in an unfamiliar area. However, alternative technologies, such as the Internet, texting or voice calling, and email notifications are becoming more widely available as methods to notify people of ongoing projects, news, and events.[51] Furthermore, through modern cellphone technology and wireless Internet, these methods are also becoming available to be used by pedestrians and others who use public transit. While these technologies have potential to be useful in disseminating information to large numbers of people, they are not used by everyone and should not be used as a complete replacement for on-site notification.[52] Part of “effective communication” is providing information in as many different formats as possible so that people can use the format they are most comfortable with.[53]

             Google Maps StreetView[54] also provides a way to look at sidewalks. This technology allows a person to “stand” in one place on the screen map and look in 360º circle on the street as well as up and down. It also allows the person to zoom in slightly on an area or travel closer to an area by clinking the mouse in the distance. This tool can be useful for some pedestrians with mobility impairments to look at sidewalks or the path of travel in unfamiliar areas. However, it does not substitute for actually traveling to an area to look at barriers, and it is not accessible to people who lack Internet access and people with severe vision impairments. However, its utility is also limited because the view of the path of travel may be blocked by cars and other non-stationary objects captured by Google’s camera technology, and the images are not regularly updated: New construction is sometimes not documented on StreetView, and newly finished construction may still show up as an ongoing project. StreetView is a useful tool, but it does not work for everyone or in all situations.

            As discussed above, the Internet has potential as a warning-system for construction. Municipalities could create a website to keep track of construction projects throughout the city and use this as a way to warn pedestrians of construction impacting either streets or sidewalks or both. The website would need to provide information in multiple formats, e.g., both a map and searchable textual description of projects in a list. The Internet has advantages over TV and radio as a warning system because the user does not need to know local station numbers in order to use the system. However, the Internet is not widely available among some communities, and some people do not have easily available Internet access or available wireless service to get Internet on a portable device.[55] Utilizing the Internet and other wireless technology as a warning system of construction for pedestrians may be useful, but it should not replace accessible on-site warning methods.

            In short, systems to warn pedestrians of construction are vital to maintaining the accessibility of sidewalks, and ongoing advances in technology have the potential to revolutionize the way pedestrians are warned of construction projects that impact their ability to travel.

V. Conclusion

            Sidewalk accessibility is a continually evolving issue. It encompasses not only traditional notions of what a sidewalk is—the concrete structure that must be physically accessible—but also “effective communication” requirements for detectable warnings in potentially hazardous areas and accessibility of pedestrian crossing signals and crosswalks for users of all abilities.

            The law is in a state of flux right now: Recent cases show the courts of appeal have a variety of interpretations of what a sidewalk is considered under the ADA. The Access Board is also working on new guidelines for pedestrian paths. Once those guidelines are completed, released, and adopted, new decisions will interpret and shape their effectiveness.

            The issue is also being shaped by the rapid improvements in technology that have occurred and/or been implemented since the passage of the ADA. In 1990, when the ADA was passed, the idea of the Internet was science fiction, but now the Internet has the potential to provide access to information in multiple accessible formats that can be easily viewed, shared, and updated. Improvements in technology are also impacting the ability to provide effective early warning of hazardous areas on the streets and sidewalks, such as construction sites. Furthermore, advances in technology have the potential to revolutionize the concept of “accessibility” itself: Everything from our warning systems to the types of signals and paving used for sidewalks have been and could be impacted by new technologies and design principles.



[1]             42 U.S.C. § 12101(a)(5).

[2]             42 U.S.C. § 12101 note. (Findings and Purposes of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008). For simplicity, all further references to the ADA refer to the amended version of the law unless otherwise noted.

[3]             Id.

[4]             28 CFR § 35.151(a) and 28 CFR § 35.151(b). See also, ADA National Network. Effective Dates. http://adata.org/tags/effective-dates Note also that the various versions of regulations implementing the ADA have differing effective dates.

[5]             Dept. of Justice/Dept. Of Transportation Joint Technical Assistance on the Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act Requirements to Provide Curb Ramps when Streets, Roads, or Highways are Altered Through Resurfacing. Jul. 8, 2013. http://www.ada.gov/doj-fhwa-ta.htm.

[6]             Frame v. City of Arlington, 657 F3d 215 (5th Cir. 2011) (writ of cert. denied at City of Arlington v. Frame, 132 S.Ct. 1531 (2012)). The Fifth Circuit case has a long history. Over the course of about five years, the case went back and forth to the court of appeals 3 times. The first time, the court held that sidewalks were a “program, service, or activity” of the city and the statute of limitations defense needed to be brought and proved by the city. However, the statute of limitations would begin to run on the date the sidewalk was constructed. On rehearing en banc, the court reversed itself and held that sidewalks were not a “program, service, or activity”; therefore the plaintiffs could only bring suit if the sidewalk connected another program service or activity of the government. Additionally, the statute of limitations would begin to run when the plaintiffs “knew or should have known” about the sidewalk. Finally, after a remand, the court again reversed itself, holding that the sidewalks were a “service, program, or activity” of the city and that the statute of limitations would run when the plaintiffs knew about or encountered the sidewalk.

[7]             Barden v. City of Sacramento, 292 F.3d 1073 (9th Cir. 2002).

[8]             28 CFR 151(b)(4)(ii) (definition of “path of travel” for alterations).

[9]             24 CFR 100.205; Fair Housing Act Design Manual, Part Two, 1.2 and 1.8, available at www.huduser.org/publication/pdf/fairhousing/fairch1.pdf.

[10]           U.S. Access Board, Proposed Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way, 36 C.F.R 1190, Jul. 26, 2011, available at http://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/streets-sidewalks/public-rights-of-way/proposed-rights-of-way-guidelines.

[11]           See, Isler, Fredrick D., U.S. Dept. of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, “Memorandum: Information: Public Rights of Way Access Advisory,” Jan. 23, 2006, available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/accessibility_guidance/prwaa.cfm; See also Federal Highway Administration, Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part I, 1999, available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/sidewalks/ and Federal Highway Administration, Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part II, 2001 (outdated guidance, but useful for the basics of the issues).

[12]           Isler, Fredrick D., U.S. Dept. of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, “Memorandum: Information: Public Rights of Way Access Advisory,” Jan. 23, 2006, available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/accessibility_guidance/prwaa.cfm

[13]          Federal Highway Administration, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, 2009 Edition with Revision Numbers 1 and 2 incorporated, May 2012. Available at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2009r1r2/pdf_index.htm (official PDF version) (Hereafter, “MUTCD PDF”).

[14]           MUTCDs and Traffic Control Information by State. Federal Highway Administration. http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/state_info/texas/tx.htm (stating that states were required to have adopted the 2009 MUTCD or a state supplement in substantial compliance by January 15, 2012).

[15]           Texas MUTCD State Information, http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/state_info/texas/tx.htm (containing an electronic copy of Texas’ adoption of the MUTCD).

[16]           See, e.g., the City of Houston’s Pedestrian Accessibility Review (PAR) Program, providing that once curb ramps are built under the program, they become the responsibility of the adjoining landowner.

[17]           Shoup, Donald. Putting Cities Back on Their Feet, Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 62.3, (Sept. 2010). Available at http://shoup.bol.ucla.edu/PuttingCitiesBackOnTheirFeet.pdf.

[18]           U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division, Project Civic Access Fact Sheet, http://www.ada.gov/civicfac.htm.

[19]           Id.

[20]           See, e.g., Settlement Agreement Between the United States of America and Detroit, Michigan, Feb. 27, 2004, Dept. of Justice No. 204-37-284;  Settlement Agreement Between the United States of America and City of Wills Point, Texas, Jul. 24, 2012, DOJ No. 204-75-137, para. 37-41;  Settlement Agreement Between the United States of America and Upshur County, Nov. 22, 2011, DOJ No. 204-75-127, para. 45-49;  Settlement Agreement Between the United States of America and Gregg County, Texas, Jul. 29, 2009, DOJ No. 204-75-115, para. 44-48;  Settlement Agreement Between the United States of America and Amarillo, Texas, Jul. 25, 2005, DOJ No. 204-73-176, para.. 29-31.

[21]           The very term “pedestrian” means one who walks on foot. See Oxford English Dictionary, “pedestrian, n. def. a.”

[22]           The FHWA Best Practices Guide indicates that concrete, when dry, is an acceptable paving surface because it is firm, relatively smooth, and non-slippery. However, composite rock, flagstone, or cobblestone are not accessible forms of paving: Despite its appearance as a firm surface, composite or crushed rock is relatively slippery. Flagstone or cobblestone have potential to create a bumpy ride or be difficult to traverse for people who use wheelchairs and may create trip hazards for people with vision impairments. Boodlal, Leverson, Accessible Sidewalks and Street Crossings—An Informational Guide, United States Dept. of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration 11-12, available at http://www.bikewalk.org/pdfs/sopada_fhwa.pdf.

[23]           A wide sidewalk cluttered with objects such as trash cans, tree roots, benches, fences, or parked cars is still inaccessible if there is not enough room for a wheelchair to maneuver around the objects.

[24]           Such “protruding objects” that do not touch the ground may only extend 4 inches into the path of travel. Otherwise some form of cane detection must be placed within a cane detectable range. 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design 307.2.

[25]           Note that this definition of “accessible” benefits not only people with disabilities but also minors and people who may not be fluent in a particular country’s official language.

[26]           2011 Guidelines R302.2 (“Continuous Width”) and R302.4 (“Passing Spaces”).

[27]           2011 Guidelines Advisory R302.3 (“Continuous Width”).

[28]           See Federal Highway Administration, Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Best Practices Design Guide, Part II, § 7.1.1 and Table 7-1, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/sidewalk2/sidewalks207.cfm.

[29]           See Federal Highway Administration, Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Best Practices Design Guide, Part II, § 7.1.1 and Table 7-1, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/sidewalk2/sidewalks207.cfm.

[30]          2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, § 307.2.

[31]           Id.

[32]           See Federal Highway Administration, Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access § 4.3.8, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/sidewalks/chap4a.cfm (listing common objects that obstruct the path of travel).

[33]           Id.

[34]           Boodlal, Leverson, Accessible Sidewalks and Street Crossings—An Informational Guide, United States Dept. of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration 11-12, available at http://www.bikewalk.org/pdfs/sopada_fhwa.pdf.

[35]           Id.

[36]           See, e.g., Horne, Dwight A., Memorandum: Information: ADAAG Detectable Warnings, U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, May 6, 2002, available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/accessibility_guidance/dwm.cfm; Horne, Dwight A., Memorandum: Information: ADA Accessibility Guidelines Detectable Warnings, U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Jul. 30, 2004.

[37]           The complex issues surrounding accessible pedestrian signals have been addressed in a multitude of research papers. See, e.g., Janet M. Barlow, Common Problems Arising in the Installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals, U.S. Access Board, (June 2009), available at http://www.access-board.gov/research/completed-research/common-problems-arising-in-aps-installation.

[38]           MUTCD, Section E.

[39]           Id.

[40]           Work zones count as “Temporary Facilities” in the 2011 Proposed Guidelines, and would be required to comply with the law. 2011 Proposed Guidelines Advisory R201.2. See also R205 (“Alternate Pedestrian Access Routes”) and Advisory R205 (both sections incorporating the MUTCD by reference).

[41]           Work zones count as “Temporary Facilities” in the 2011 Proposed Guidelines, and would be required to comply with the law. 2011 Proposed Guidelines Advisory R201.2. See also R205 (“Alternate Pedestrian Access Routes”) and Advisory R205 (both sections incorporating the MUTCD by reference).

[42]           Work zones count as “Temporary Facilities” in the 2011 Proposed Guidelines, and would be required to comply with the law. 2011 Proposed Guidelines Advisory R201.2. See also R205 (“Alternate Pedestrian Access Routes”) and Advisory R205 (both sections incorporating the MUTCD by reference).

[43]           See generally, MUTCD PDF § 6D.01.04, § 6D.01.11 and § 6D.02.

[44]           MUTCD PDF § 6D.01.11C.

[45]           MUTCD PDF § 6D.01.11E-G and § 6D.02.03.

[46]           The MUTCD provides that construction projects should not interfere with public transportation stops.

[47]           But note MUTCD § 6D.01.03 (“Advance notification of sidewalk closures shall be provided by the maintaining agency.”).

[48]           MUTCD § 6D.01.03 (“Advance notification of sidewalk closures shall be provided by the maintaining agency.”). The MUTCD also states that warnings should be provided at the corner, rather than at midblock, to discourage people crossing in the middle of the street.

[49]           MUTCD § 6D.02.05-07.

[50]           See MUTCD § 6D.02.06 (pointing out that wireless receivers that emit an auditory signal are currently unlikely to be carried by people with vision disabilities).

[51]           However, note that some mediums may pose accessibility problems for people with certain disabilities.

[52]           MUTCD § 6D.02.06.

[53]           28 C.F.R. § 35.160.

[55]           See MUTCD § 6D.02.06 (pointing out that wireless receivers that emit an auditory signal are currently unlikely to be carried by people with vision disabilities).


The contents of this e-bulletin were developed by the Southwest ADA Center under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133A110027.  However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. The information provided is intended solely as guidance and is neither a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities under the ADA, nor binding on any agency with enforcement responsibility under the ADA.