When construction projects impact city streets and sidewalks, it can make it difficult for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers to get around. This is especially true for pedestrians with disabilities. As a recent KUOW story highlighted, pedestrian reroutes and detours can be confusing for visually impaired residents. In the past, this confusion has often been exacerbated by inconsistent signage, and by closures and reroutes that are more extensive than they need to be.
But this is changing. As pointed out in the same KUOW story, SDOT’s new Director’s Rule for Pedestrian Mobility In and Around Work Zones is making navigation around construction sites easier and safer for everyone, including those with disabilities. Important standards outlined in the new rule include the requirement that contractors use solid, cane-detectable barriers instead of cones to define the outer edge of pedestrian reroutes , that clear and consistent signage be used, that specifications for meeting ADA sidewalk ramp requirements are met, and that sidewalk and lane closures are only used as a last resort.
We’re constantly working to improve mobility for all. And with Seattle’s newly passed Move Seattle levy placing great emphasis on pedestrian access, you can expect to see us continue taking great strides in improving pedestrian mobility throughout the coming year and beyond.