Building accessible work zones in San Antonio

Safety Case Studies
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As a manufacturer, we also serve as advocates and educators. Through trade organizations, for example, we promote traffic-safety initiatives. During new product introductions, we also disseminate information about new and relevant guidelines that the products satisfy.    

 

As such, we created a complementary training presen­tation. Entitled “Building Accessible Work Zones,” we facilitated our first training session at an LTAP workshop in early 2011.   

 

We designed the presentation for a fairly broad audience. We ad­dressed issues encountered daily by designers, engineers, supervisors, crew chiefs, inspectors and others who close sidewalks for long- or short-term maintenance or construction.

 

Recently, Judy Babbitt, accessibility compliance manager for the city of San Antonio, expressed the city’s need to implement more safety measures for pedestrians traversing through city street or sidewalk construction.    

 

The question, as usual, was where to begin. Our presentation seemed a natural starting point, and we offered to conduct a training session for those city employees involved.

 

We conducted the session in San Antonio about a month ago. Attendees included employees from several city departments, Texas DOT, and VIA Metro Transit. With two citizen advocates, we presented to 44 attendees in all.

 

To personify the issues, Larry Johnson, president of the Alamo Council of the Blind, gave vivid testimony to the difficulties faced in work zones by pedestrians with limited vision. 

 

After Larry, Tim Cox, our national sales manager, facilitated the presentation, which followed the format below:

 

Part I:  The Question:  Why Accessible Work Zones?

  • The need for accessible work zones;
  • PROWAG and MUTCD Regulations; 
  • Components of an accessible work zone;
  • Types of street closures; and
  • Examples of current practices in San Antonio.

 

Part II:  The Answer:  Towards a new accessible sidewalk construction policy 

  • Components of the policy:
    • Specifications;
    • Traffic-control plans; and
    • Sidewalk closure permits
  • City Action: Create, adopt, enforce

 

 

As a result, Babbitt recently advised us that they have launched a review of relevant city procedures. The review should identify opportunities to improve safety for all pedestrians who walk through San Antonio’s street and sidewalk construction.

 

 

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