Sharring experiences in urban infrastructure delivery.

Another Innovative Access Solution & Street Reconstruction Challenges

By: Tom Davis Category: Sidewalk Features

Preface – This is a follow-up to an earlier post about unusual solutions to provide accessible pedestrian pathways to crosswalks at intersections. What creates the need for these solutions is the difference in the existing grades of the adjacent buildings and the street–even if the street is being completely rebuilt.

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At Bell and San Jacinto Streets is an innovative solution to provide access from each approaching sidewalk to the crosswalks and around the corner while not exposing the building’s foundation.SanJac at Bell2.jpg The handrails make the sidewalk appear cluttered but are necessary from a practical perspective and to comply with TDLR–the State of Texas agency with accessibility requirements that are more demanding than ADA.

A study of the intersection and grades of the approaching streets likely lead to the inability to raise the intersection to avoid this access issue. The cross street–not being rebuilt–was low and the sidewalks up to the doorways on the street have a steep cross-slope.  To raise the intersection would require raising a portion of either side of the cross street and recofiguring the sidewalk and doorways to meet current ADA requirements. If no change is made then they can be left as they are.

That is likely why the new street was not raised. This is a common problem when rebuilding streets in older urban environments due to the many variations of buildings likely at each corner of each intersection and between intersections. Adjacent buildings, or those nearby to which we must maintain access, are often built at greatly different scales and decades apart so the floor elevations can be quite different. In addition the new street and its sidewalks must meet the new ADA requirements for accessibility along any path. One would say that should have been noticed at the time the job was identified and budgeted. But,  often the situation is intended to be avoided until the survey arrives and it is realized the grades are to far apart.

Click for location map.

Be sure to look at the other article here with photos of other access ramp solutions.


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