Sidewalks and Shared-Use Paths: Safety, Security, and Maintenance

O'Donnell, Edward
Knab, Andrew
Athey, Lorene
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Part I of this report examines the issue of security by analyzing common security incidents on trail or sidewalk facilities, problems with perceptions of security among users and the public, and vandalism-related facilities. As two interviewees noted, there is no way to ensure total security on trail facilities, but governments and agencies can enhance security (Bustos; G. Smith). Secure facilities are those that reduce the risk of security incidents and the fear of potential incidents through educational efforts directed at users, design, and management policies that increase the number of users on the facility and provide adequate visibility. The issue of safety is explored through several different viewpoints in this report. Safe sidewalks and shared-use paths are designed and managed to reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians and other users of the facility. This means safe facilities are constructed and maintained to provide a safe environment for all ages and skill levels. Part II of this report, the safety section, examines common problems plaguing the current sidewalk and shared-use path system: facilities that are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and are difficult for older and disabled individuals to travel on; design flaws or policies (or lack thereof) that increase the chances of user conflicts (i.e., bicycle-on-bicycle collisions or bicycle and pedestrian collisions); and conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians. The issue of maintenance is related to both the security and safety of facilities. Maintained facilities are in good repair, accessible, and regularly inspected. Part III of the paper explores routine maintenance tasks and the use of volunteers and equipment and also specifically addresses the problem of snow removal on sidewalks and shared-use paths. Additional attention is given to the problem of sidewalk repairs and long-term maintenance needs. Unsurprisingly, both the interviews and literature review revealed that the higher the quality of initial design and construction, the less maintenance the facility will require.
sidewalks , shared-use , paths , bikepaths , pedestrian , cyclists , walkers , infrastructure , transportation , mobility