What do you when you’re walking and you see the sidewalk ahead is closed–do you go across the street or walk in the travel lane to get through? If you are like me (and many others), you probably walk in the street. Humans regularly choose convenience over safety when the built environment forces them to choose.
Recently, OakDOT issued guidance to require designing for pedestrian convenience (as well for bicyclists and bus facilities) when buildings are under construction. According to the new guidance:
- “Pedestrian Detours” are not acceptable in Downtown Oakland, along major transit corridors, or along neighborhood commercial streets. A sidewalk that is completely closed and requires crossing to the other side of the street is called a “pedestrian detour.” Detours are only allowed when there is a construction flagger present.
- “Pedestrian Diversions” must be provided. A “Pedestrian Diversion” is is a temporary walkway installed on the same side of the street as the obstruction allowing pedestrians to bypass the construction without having to cross the street.
So, how do project sponsors know they have to comply with the new requirements? When a construction sponsor files for an “Obstruction Permit” to block sidewalk or street space, they must submit a “Temporary Traffic Control Plan” (TTCP) that OakDOT staff review for compliance with the guidance before the permit is issued.
Oakland is entering a construction boom, so now is an important time to ensure construction project sponsors are aware of and complying with the new requirements. And now is also an important time to ensure that OakDOT has staffing resources to provide enough inspectors to enforce the new guidance and respond to complaints made through SeeClickFix or the Call Center.
We noticed some sidewalk detours around Oakland and did a little digging about how the new guidance was affecting them. Read more