Accessible Pedestrian Trails and Shared Use Paths

Thursday, August 5, 2021
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

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Enjoying a hike, a bike ride, a walk, a run, or a roll along a scenic route is a healthy way to spend time. This webinar will review the differences between accessible pedestrian trails and shared use paths. Presenters will review the technical and scoping requirements in the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Standards for newly constructed or altered pedestrian trails on federal sites, as well as proposed supplementary provisions for shared use paths. Presenters will also address some frequently asked questions and common sources of confusion concerning accessible pedestrian trails and shared use paths.

Session Materials

Continuing Education Recognition Available

Certificate Credit hours
California Architects Board 1.5
Certificate of Attendance 1.5
ICC 1.5


Bill Botten, Training Coordinator, Senior Accessibility Specialist, Office of Technical and Information Services, U.S. Access Board

Juliet Shoultz, Transportation Engineer, Office of Technical and Information Services

Questions for presenters:

1 What is the guidance vs regulations for on-street parking next to a trail-head (no paved/developed area) or off-street trail-head parking? What is the guidance and regulations for trails that are public but require strenuous hiking to pass through or a park that doubles as a storm water detention basin during rain-events? (i.e. parks and trails that aren't in the typical urban setting or those that require certain skill/experience to traverse) Thanks
2 Parking is at a premium at a moderate trail. Does the ABA require an accessible space and aisle?
3 Is there specific guidance or a recommendation for the widths of pathways that have multiple wheelchairs in both directions?
4 To preserve the root system of large trees > 12 inch caliper along pedestrian ADA trails: what surface material choices do you recommend and can material be placed on the surface rather than excavated into the surface to protect roots?
5 Can you discuss digital wayfinding options for hikers who are blind or low vision?
6 How often should there be resting intervals within a trail?
7 Hand rails are not always possible in state parks due to terrain or hillside or cultural land. What recommendations do you have when hand rails are not available?
8 In new construction of a mixed use bike/walking trail, what keeps totally blind dog guide users safe from bikes? A different underfoot texture for walkers and bikes would be most advantaged for the blind pedestrian so as to keep track of their location on the trail, as otherwise, dogs are trained to walk along left edge. If this is not required, is it a question of the letter of the law rather than the intent?
9 Of the various temporary pathways such as Mobi-Mat, Port-a-Path, etc, which is the best? Some are slippery when wet.
10 We have found challenges in some areas bordering wetlands or protected land to build trails due to the increase of pervious area /drainage impact. Is there a type of pervious material you can recommend to overcome this issue?
11 Do you have any recommendations on how to best work (as a local agency) with other agencies, which own corridors where the planned trails are most desirable to be constructed and sometimes the only possible route? I am referring to agencies such as power providers, railroads, and any other utility or private company.
12 What types of PERVIOUS materials can be used to build ADA accessible natural surface trails?
13 How do the interpretations of shared use path guidelines differ between urban, suburban and (sub)urban applications?
14 When a shared use path (paved and intended to be accessible) is built on an independent alignment that is constrained (former rail corridor, river or canal bank), what should be the max. running slope. May it follow the similar provision for sidewalks in roadway corridors that allows the sidewalk to match the general profile grade for the roadway, even if it exceeds 5%?
15 Most detectable warning materials are designed to be used on concrete, but many shared use paths are asphalt. Any suggestions on products or construction techniques that can be used to install detectable warnings?
16 What is your perspective on Porous Asphalt / Porous Concrete / Permeable Pavement for ADA accessible trails? This material is beginning to be used more frequently in south Florida parking lots but not yet on pedestrian use areas.
17 Please discuss use of stonedust (also known as Decomposed Granite or "DG") as an accessible path surface. Is is acceptable for use in natural settings where a harder pavement such as asphalt is not desirable?
18 Could you please discuss the appropriate language/signage to use in areas where regulations differ for users with disabilities - e.g. bicycles are not allowed, but adaptive bikes are; e-bikes are not allowed but OPDMDs are? How can we sign these areas clearly and legally?

Session Questions

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