5 Construction, Operation and Maintenance

5 Construction, Operation and Maintenance

5.1 Introduction

The pedestrian environment can become difficult or even dangerous for many disabled people to use during construction, operation and maintenance works. Those responsible for such undertakings are required to implement the following advice.

5.2 Construction

5.2.1 Traffic Management

Reference should be made to the 'Traffic Signs Manual' Chapter 8 Part 1: Design and Part 2: Operations, and in particular:

  • Section O3.13.6 highlights the need to consider people with visual impairments, people with mobility impairments including wheelchair users and parents with prams during road works. Protection for people with a visual impairment will require that road works sites should be guarded on those sides accessible to pedestrians. The need for guarding is not necessarily restricted to the footway side of the works. Provision may need to be made for people crossing the road including dropped kerbs. There must be a pedestrian barrier which is readily detectable by a visually impaired person using a long cane; see Section O4.11.6 and Part 1: Design, Section D3.10. The guarding should include a lower tapping rail at a maximum of 200 millimetres above ground level as well as a higher rail at 1000 millimetres to 1200 millimetres.
  • Section O4.11.6 highlights the need to give particular attention to the needs of people with visual impairments. A pedestrian barrier should be provided on those sides of an obstruction that restrict pedestrian flow or are accessible to pedestrians, regardless of whether or not visually impaired pedestrians are known to use the route.

5.2.2 Traffic Management Design

When designing temporary traffic management measures, the guidance contained below and in the 'Traffic Signs Manual' Chapter 8 is to be followed in all circumstances. Particular attention should be directed to the needs of visual and mobility impaired pedestrians when designing and operating pedestrian diversion routes. Reference should be made to the design standards in the Good Practice Guide as an "aide-mémoire" to the needs of mobility and visually impaired users.

In particular:

  • The need for the provision of an even surface for the diversion route and provision of temporary crossing facilities. This includes the need to provide dropped kerbs to maintain the integrity of a route for wheelchair users and parents with prams.
  • Where pedestrians are diverted to the adjacent footway consideration must be given to the location of the diversion route and how both visually and mobility impaired users will be able to cross the road in a safe manner. Where a route must be narrowed, such as when scaffolding is erected, minimum footway widths must be maintained.
  • Closing a footway mid-block and diverting pedestrians to the opposite footway is common but is not conducive to an inclusive environment. A suitable inclusive diversion route must always be provided. Involvement of the local Access Panel can be useful in the design of temporary pedestrian management.
  • Where a long diversion route is proposed, the design must make sure that visual and mobility impaired users can use the diversion route, and that no barriers to movement will be encountered.

Figure 32: Traffic management

Figure 32 Traffic management

Figure 33: Temporary dropped kerb/ramp

Figure 33 Temporary dropped kerb ramp

5.2.3 Construction Quality Control

Attention to quality control during the construction period is essential to avoid hazards which may be difficult or costly to remedy during normal maintenance. The following are examples of common barriers in the field:

  • Service covers not flush with footway;
  • Wide joints in the footway;
  • Footway surface irregularity;
  • Gratings placed in the line of pedestrian crossing points.

5.3 Operational Issues

5.3.1 Advertising Boards

Shop owners should be made to remove illegal advertising boards from the footway. This type of obstruction is particularly difficult for visually impaired people to detect, since these are free standing and not always in the same place every day. Once one shop owner puts an advertising board on the street there is a tendency for other traders to follow suit. On narrow footways these boards can create a "slalom" effect which is difficult for pedestrians to negotiate. Guidance should be obtained from the relevant local planning and roads authorities with respect to local advertising policies.

If a display on private land cannot be removed, Transport Scotland will encourage the following good practice to minimise obstruction:

  • A minimum 2000 millimetres wide obstacle-free passageway is retained;
  • The board is not repositioned from day to day ;
  • There is no more than one board at each frontage;
  • Pedestrians are not forced into the carriageway, either directly or because of the numbers of pedestrians attempting to walk around the board;
  • The board is solidly constructed so that is does not collapse if inadvertently knocked;
  • The board does not have any projections, sharp edges, rotating parts or places where fingers and clothing could become trapped;
  • The minimum height of the board is 1000 millimetres;
  • The board is brightly coloured to contrast with the background against which it is seen and incorporates contrasting colours/tones.

Figure 34: Example of A-boards obstructing the footway

Example of A boards obstructing the footway

5.3.2 Pavement Cafés

A well designed pavement café, in the right location, can add value to the pedestrian environment and should present no barriers or hazard to disabled people. However, a badly designed café or a café on too narrow a footway can restrict the pedestrian route and create a hostile environment for disabled people. Therefore, there must be strict controls on where pavement cafés are allowed and what café furniture is used. As with shop advertising boards, café furniture should be removed from poorly designed pavement cafés, in the wrong location and from cafés that are badly managed. Guidance should be obtained from the relevant local planning and roads authorities with respect to local policies.

Pavement cafés should be located adjacent to the building frontage so that staff and customers are not required to cross the line of pedestrian travel. A minimum clear passageway of 2000 millimetres on busy streets and 1800 millimetres on streets with low pedestrian flows, should be maintained at all times and this should be free of other obstructions such as street furniture.

The street café should be surrounded on all sides by a continuous physical barrier at least 1000 millimetres high, for example continuous planters or railings, which should contrast with the background to aid detection by partially sighted people. To be detectable by long cane users, the barrier should be continuous to the ground or, alternatively, incorporate a lower rail which should be no higher than 200 millimetres above ground level. The barriers should not contain sharp edges or protruding parts and all furniture and displays should be contained within the guarded area.

Figure 35: Example of a well designed pavement café

Example of a well designed pavement café

5.3.3 Projections

Projections on to the footway, such as outward opening doors, windows and shop canopies, from properties adjoining the road network should be carefully controlled.

Figure 36: Example of an acceptable projection over a footway

Figure 36 Example of an acceptable projection over a footway

5.3.4 Obstructing the Footway

Cars overhanging the footway or parked on the footway reduce the effective width for pedestrians to the extent that in some circumstances pedestrians must use the road, which is dangerous particularly for vulnerable pedestrians. If there are no dropped kerbs available this obstruction may prevent wheelchair users from making a journey. Visually impaired pedestrians often find it difficult to detect cars on or overhanging the footway, where they least expect them to be. Driving on the footway and obstructing the footway is illegal and should be brought to the attention of the police for enforcement purposes.

5.3.5 Unauthorised Use of Accessible Bays

Unauthorised parking in accessible bays is a particularly common problem. The Disabled Persons' Parking Places (Scotland) Act 2009 enables legal enforcement of disabled parking places. The Act imposes a duty on local authorities to exercise its power to make an order under either section 45 (on-street parking places) or section 35 (off-street parking places) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. All accessible parking bays must therefore be accompanied by a Traffic Regulation Order, currently administered by local authorities.

5.4 Maintenance

5.4.1 Foliage

Overhanging branches and foliage can reduce the effective width of footways and present a serious hazard to visually impaired pedestrians. Visually impaired people have difficulty detecting anything above waist height with a long cane and a guide dog can walk underneath this type of hazard. Branches overhanging a footway fall into this hazard category and can cause a serious injury to eyes and face. Vegetation must be cut back to maintain a clear head height above footways and allow for the growth of the tree or bush. Holly bushes and other vegetation with sharp barbs are not suitable for footway locations and should be removed.

Figure 37: Example of footway with well maintained foliage

Figure 37 Example of footway with well maintained foliage

5.4.2 Footway Surfaces

Uneven and broken paving can present a trip hazard to pedestrians. Footway surfaces should be checked regularly and broken and uneven surfaces should be repaired. HD 40/01 (DMRB 7.4.3) describes the inspections methods which should be employed.

Figure 38: Good example of level footway surface

Figure 38 Good example of level footway surface