New Pedestrian Mobility Rule–on to Next Steps

A revised SDOT Director’s Rule on Pedestrian Mobility in and Around Work Zones now takes its next steps (pun intended) with our team reviewing all  comments that came in, and refining the final policy. The 2-week public comment period ended October 29, with more than 30 comments–a common running theme was, “Thank goodness; we need this!” We hope to have the new rule, referred to as DR 10-1015 (i.e. Director’s Rule October 2015), completed later this month.

As we reported October 20, several questions have come up along the way. More recently those questions have included, “Must all projects, existing and new, be in compliance by January 1, 2016?” The answer is: this new rule applies to new projects after January 1, 2016. However, we will work with all projects to transition as much as possible to meet the key components of the rule.

Reroute example graphicAnd specifics, there have been a lot of questions there.  All the specifics are addressed in section 7 of DR 10-2015, Pedestrian Walkway Standards. Things like impact-rated barricades anchored or otherwise  stabilized are referenced to protect pedestrian pathways adjacent to travel lanes. Above is a diagram showing a project using the sidewalk area and creating a pedestrian reroute (meaning keeping people on the same side as the existing sidewalk; a detour is when pedestrians must cross to the other side of the street, for example). That safe pathway includes water-filled Jersey barriers, handrails and ADA compliant ramps.

Another question is, “Are there exceptions?” and yes, every rule seems to have those. In this case special requests for sidewalk closures in unique situations will be determined on a case-by-case basis and only as a last resort. It’s the intent of this policy that all pedestrian facilities remain open and meet ADA requirements unless it is too hazardous to do so. It’s all in line with our effort the last two years to raise the bar, including asking more of builders but also giving more.

The team is also looking at duration of project and cost impacts for small projects, for potential rule adjustments. So there you have it. We’ll report out again as we walk through (again, pun intended) the comments and apply final refinements. Thank you for sharing our interest in safety and access!