Additional ADA, AASHTO and SAFEY Concerns

Two segments (20%) of the Auburn Trail detour away from the Railway corridor and follow several roadways. The Shared-Use Path does not continue along this detour, instead all users must use sidewalks, road shoulders and in some cases, the roadway itself. 

Segment 1 - Rawson Road, School Street, Trolley Trail, Maple Street. 
Segment 2 - East Victor Road and Break of Day Road. 






According to AASHTO, Shared-Use Paths are defined as “facilities on exclusive right of way, with minimal cross flow by motor vehicles.” They have well defined guidelines for width and separation from roadways meant to provide a safe corridor for transportation by non-motorized users. By disrupting this shared-use path to detour along roadways, users are subject to numerous safety concerns – contrary to the intent of this project. 

A. Variable travel speed – Bicyclists, pedestrians and wheelchairs leaving the 8 to 12 foot wide Shared-use path at one speed must now navigate numerous direction and usage changes. 

B. Safety – All users must switch from a dedicated path with no vehicular traffic to mixing with traffic in many ways at intersections or even along the same roads. 


In discussions with the consultant regarding a 3 foot alternative for a segment in the Auburn Trail extension, it was argued that forcing riders to change from an 8 foot path to a 3 foot path was unsafe. How is this different than the drastically changing travel conditions here? 



Segment 1- Rawson Road, School Street, Trolley Trail, Maple Street. 
 Total distance: about one mile 

In the Village of Victor, the Shared-use Path ends and users detour off the railbed onto Rawson Road and continue along School Street. Bicycles must ride in the road, pedestrians and wheelchairs must use the sidewalk. The detour continues from School Street on a paved trail (Trolley Trail) across a 7’ wide bridge to Maple Street, where bicyclists again share the road while pedestrians and wheelchairs use sidewalks. Users then continue south along Maple St. for approximately .4 mile to return to the Auburn Trail. 


Dark blue is section of Auburn Trail on Rawson, School Street, and Trolley Trail, the red segment is the section on Maple Street.
Photo on right is Maple Street. 




This segment contains 7 intersections where users not only need to evaluate where they are expected to travel, but they must also watch for vehicular traffic at every crossing. 

In the name of safety which has been used as the primary reason that a narrow alternative is not acceptable for the Extension project, how is this safe for multiple users, especially families with young children on bicycles? 


Safety concerns and AASHTO guideline adherence issues. 
  • Bridge on Trolley Trail – This bridge is 7’ wide. AASHTO guidelines recommend a minimum width of 8 feet, unless conditions such as low bicycle and pedestrian use are expected. This segment is near the center of the Town of Victor, where usage should be at peak and fairly high, according to VHT. (200 users per day.) 
  • Shoulders & Grates on Maple Street. This is the main artery south out of the Village and heavily traveled. Safety of groups of bicyclists and families with young riders are a serious concern. Village of Victor code states that children over 10 are NOT permitted to ride bicycles on sidewalks. Both shoulders are only 4 feet wide with numerous drainage grates. AASHTO recommends 5 foot bike lanes on both sides. 
  • Sidewalk Pedestrian Zone on Maple St. - The west sidewalk is interrupted by an active parking lot. Users must maneuver around parked cars to get to the crosswalk at the south end. 
  • Crosswalks – Several intersections have no crosswalks at all. One is on busy Maple St. where the route connects with the Trolley Trail. 
  • Crosswalk Flashing Signal - At the south end of Maple St., the sidewalk is a crosswalk for pedestrians – yet there is no blinking light other signal device to alert motorists that a wheelchair or pedestrian is crossing in the middle of this heavily traveled road. 
  • Shoulders on Rawson and School Streets – The shoulders on Rawson are 2.5 feet wide, those on School street are only 2 feet wide. Cyclists share the road.
  • Sidewalks on Rawson – The west sidewalk ends halfway to the trail connection. (Coincidentally, right before the Victor Highway Dept. Building.) Users must cross (no crosswalk.)
  • Share the Road Signs – Although Bicyclists are directed to share the road at route intersections, there is not a single “share the road” sign to advise motorists that bicycles are also using the roads in this section.
Although many of these deficiencies may meet minimal AAHSTO guidelines, together,
they represent numerous safety concerns and obstacles to users traveling this trail. 





Segment 2 - East Victor Road and Break of Day Road. 
 Total Distance: .4 mile 

Users at this section are directed into the roadway, where cyclists are told by signage to ride in the roadway, and pedestrians to use the shoulder. East Victor road has 5 foot shoulders on both sides. Break of Day Road has a 4 foot shoulder ONLY on the south side. 
Again, on this segment, all users must now use the road or shoulders and be cognizant of vehicular traffic. There are 3 intersections to navigate before returning to the Shared-Use Path. 


Dark blue is Shared-Use Path to detour along East Victor Rd. Break of Day segment is in red.
Intersection is photo on right.


 



There are several concerns regarding AASHTO adherence in this segment. 

  • Crosswalk – East Victor Rd. - There is no crosswalk for pedestrians, wheelchairs, and cyclists to cross where the Auburn Trail (heading west) meets East Victor Road. 
  • Crosswalk and signs – There are no crosswalks or signs directing users at this Y intersection (meeting of East Victor Road and Break of Day Road). 
  • Shoulders - There is NO shoulder along Break of Day Road on the north side, and only a 3-4’ shoulder on the south side. Per AASHTO standards, shoulders should be on both sides of the road. 
    • “Shoulders— Wide shoulders on both sides of a road are the minimum requirement for providing at least a possible place for people to walk. They are not as safe as paths or sidewalks, but they are better than nothing.”
  • ADA accessibility - This does not appear to be accessible per ADA, as the user is required to travel on a narrow road shoulder where there is two-way traffic. It is at least, at the very edge of acceptable practice for this section to be ADA compliant AND safe for all users to travel both ways on one 4 foot shoulder with vehicular traffic. 

Summary 

The first Eligibility Principle for Category 1 of the Transportation Enhancements Program is “Transportation plans and projects shall provide due consideration for safety and contiguous routes for bicyclists and pedestrians.” This detour from the Shared-use path does neither. 


The conditions on both detour segments of the original Auburn Trail project are far more dangerous for two-way bicycle use, pedestrians, two wheelchairs passing and a family with young children to safely travel than they would be on a narrow footpath on a railroad berm with 4 ft wide grass shoulders, shrubs as barriers and NO vehicular traffic. 


The safety standards applied to this project are far lower than those being imposed on the Auburn Extension where additional considerations such as environmental impact, aesthetic impact and user preference justify minimal exceptions to AASHTO guidelines – far safer exceptions than those that exist on this project.