Monday, February 22, 2016

City of Langley accessible sidewalk design fail

A few weeks ago, I posted about some of the accessibility issues caused by the on-going construction of the new Timms Community Centre. For example if you have limited-mobility and need to use the ramp at City Hall/Library, you will have a hard time.

Langley City Hall access ramp on Sunday. Select image to enlarge.

When the construction of the new sidewalks along Douglas Crescent, 204th Street, and Fraser Highway are complete, there will be some accessibility enhancements as the City is using concrete for the centre strip of the sidewalk instead of using all pavers, but there are some things that the City has done which will actually make it harder to use the sidewalks in the area.

In order to ensure that all people can use a sidewalk, the absolute minimum obstruction-free width should be 1.5 meters. This means that utility poles, light fixtures, street furniture, bus stops, and traffic lights should be clear of the 1.5 meter zone. The following picture is an example showing this from the Urban Street Design Guide.

Example sidewalk cross-section from Urban Street Design Guide. Yellow strip is obstruction-free zone. Select image to enlarge

TransLink has Universally Accessible Bus Stop Design Guidelines which also make similar recommendations about the obstruction-free width requirements for sidewalks.

Standard bus stop recommended configuration from TransLink's Universally Accessible Bus Stop Design Guideline. Select image to enlarge.

I was walking along Douglas Crescent yesterday, and noticed that the City of Langley has put the base of a new traffic light for Timms and the Langley Mall right in the middle of the sidewalk on Douglas Crescent.

The City of Langley’s stated goal is to create a pedestrian-oriented Downtown. The City’s own Master Transportation Plan states that “it is important to ensure that sidewalks and entrances to pedestrian crossings remain free from obstructions, so that people of all abilities can safety navigate the sidewalk clear width and access crossing areas.”

Traffic light base in the middle of the sidewalk.

In a city like Langley which has a large concentration of people will limited-mobile in the Downtown core, accessible sidewalk design should not be an afterthought.

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