MoDOT updates and improves pedestrian policies

Waiting for MoDOT, by zaskem on FlickR
Waiting for MoDOT, by zaskem on FlickR
A major update to MoDOT's pedestrian policies has been in the works for some time.

January 6th MoDOT's Engineering Policy Guide was updated to reflect the new policies.

The new pedestrian guidance includes major new sections dealing with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  A major emphasis of MoDOT's nonmotorized transportation program has been working to better incorporate ADA issue in project design, and the new policies reflect that.

In addition to the main section on pedestrian facilities, a new, detailed section has been added to deal with pedestrian detours during road work. Some updates were made as well to the Warrants for Traffic Signal Installation.  New guidance is also given for the location and other details about pedestrian pushbuttons at traffic signals.

Probably the most substantial single change is this:

The design and installation of pedestrian facilities is to be considered on all projects beginning at the planning stage.

Previously, consideration was required only when certain conditions were met.  The result is that consideration of pedestrian facilities is pushed earlier into the project planning process, helping to make provision of pedestrian facilities routine in those places where they are needed.

A few key excerpts from the various policies:

Pedestrian Facilities

MoDOT values the needs of all transportation users, including pedestrians. Safe, convenient and well-designed facilities are essential when pedestrians are in proximity to roadway traffic. The design and installation of pedestrian facilities is to be considered on all projects beginning at the planning stage. The conceptual study should discuss the conditions listed below and how they apply to the project:

 * Pedestrian traffic generators are located near the proposed project (i.e., residential neighborhoods, employment centers, shopping centers, schools, parks, libraries, etc.),

 * There is evidence of pedestrian traffic along the proposed project,

 * The route provides access across a natural or man-made barrier (i.e., bridges over rivers, roadways, railroads or under access-controlled facilities),

 * The local jurisdiction is implementing a comprehensive pedestrian policy in the area of the proposed project,

 * There is local support through local planning organizations for the provision of pedestrian facilities,

 * The local community supports the incorporation of facilities on a particular project.

Pedestrian facilities should be a topic of discussion at all public meetings and a special effort is to be made to contact local groups of non-drivers, such as the disabled community, seniors and schools. Communities and affected disability advocate groups need to be included in the planning and design process. . . . 

Work zones/Roadwork

Where existing bicycle or pedestrian facilities or pathways will be affected by roadwork, the needs of bicycles and pedestrians are to be addressed in the Traffic Control Plan (TCP). Use the following guidelines if temporary pedestrian facilities are needed: 

 * Pedestrians must not be led into direct conflicts with worksite vehicles, equipment or operations.

 * Pedestrians must not be led into direct conflicts with mainline traffic moving through or around the worksite.

 * Pedestrians must be provided with a safe, accessible and convenient path replicating as nearly as possible the most desirable characteristics of existing sidewalks or footpaths. . . . 

Pedestrian pushbuttons at traffic signals

Pushbutton detectors must be available to all pedestrians, including those with disabilities. All pushbuttons must be ADA-compliant. . . .