At the southeast corner of Madison and Green Streets. Fortunately, only 1 corner was impassable. The same isn’t true for some of the other intersections under construction.
Does your neighborhood look like this?
Across the northwest side, including Logan Square, Avondale and West Loop, many intersections and alleys are having their curb cuts rebuilt to be compliant with transportation standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). At all of the construction sites I’ve passed by, none have alternate access or signage for pedestrians, forcing people’s paths to divert into the street and into traffic.
At the southeast corner of Diversey and Kedzie Avenues. This corner was completely non-barricaded at the time of the photo.
The issue with all of the locations pictured here is that none were signed as having closed sidewalks at any location where it would be useful to have such information (i.e. where one could make a legal crossing, in the crosswalk without walking through people’s yards or between cars), and none were barricaded for the blind, that is, a bar 6 inches above the ground for those who use detection canes.
At the intersection of Fletcher Street and Francisco Avenue. All four corners are under construction and the final concrete is being laid today, 10 days after the below-standard barricading of the intersection.
The Chicago Pedestrian Plan, released in September 2012, lists the “short term action” to “Require a 4′ travel path at all locations” (primary locations in the “Central Business District, Pedestrian Streets, and other locations with high pedestrian volumes” “require a minimum 6′ travel path be maintained for any full or partial closure of a sidewalk”).
None of this should be new information to construction workers and the engineers designing the construction work to be carried out. All of the rationale and requirements have been laid out for years, in various guidelines and documents, including the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), 2009 edition. Here are some excerpts:
- “Standard: Advance notification of sidewalk closures shall be provided by the maintaining agency.” None was provided. From section 6D.01.
- It must be recognized that pedestrians are reluctant to retrace their steps to a prior intersection for a crossing or to add distance or out-of-the-way travel to a destination. Section 6D.01.
- Standard: Where pedestrians with visual disabilities normally use the closed sidewalk, a barrier that is detectable by a person with a visual disability traveling with the aid of a long cane shall be placed across the full width of the closed sidewalk. Section 6D.02.
- Pedestrians should not be led into conflicts with vehicles moving through or around the worksite. Section 6D.01.
- Pedestrians should be provided with a convenient and accessible path that replicates as nearly as practical the most desirable characteristics of the existing sidewalk(s) or footpath(s). Section 6D.01.
- “Unless an acceptable route that does not involve crossing the roadway can be provided, pedestrians should be appropriately directed with advance signing that encourages them to cross to the opposite side of the roadway.” None of the intersections above had this. Section 6D.01.
- Individual channelizing devices, tape or rope used to connect individual devices, other discontinuous barriers and devices, and pavement markings are not detectable by persons with visual disabilities and are incapable of providing detectable path guidance on temporary or realigned sidewalks or other pedestrian facilities. Section 6F.74. [emphasis added]
Grid Chicago is a blog about sustainable transportation matters, projects and culture in Chicago and Illinois, by John Greenfield and Steven Vance since June 2011.
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