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Plastic Safety Systems Joins America Walks

September 16, 2010

Guest article by William Jamieson, Marketing Manager, Plastic Safety Systems, Inc.

Work zones are difficult enough for pedestrians who can see.  For those with limited vision, mishaps such as walking into open construction pits, tripping over construction equipment, or coming to an abrupt dead-end are not uncommon.  

Implicit in the concept of walkable communities is safe walkways for pedestrians.  However, most sidewalk construction sites do not include safe and convenient alternate or temporary pedestrian access routes for safe passageway.  Even though the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is 20 years old, guidelines for safe pedestrian walkways in construction work zones are only now being written and implemented.

The MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) was recently updated to include language to improve pedestrian work zone safety.  Further enhancements to the 2009 MUTCD standards for pedestrian safety are being worked on and will be submitted early next year for review and inclusion in the next edition.

(See Chapters 6D and 6F at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2009/part6.pdf for more information.)

However, implementation of new MUTCD standards often lags behind its publication.  Contractors still employ pedestrian barricades that are inherently unsafe, and do not meet ADA requirements for keeping people of all abilities safe.

For example, under MUTCD standard 6F.74, the sidewalk work zone seen below is no longer compliant.  Imagine a person with limited vision trying to cross that street.

Since 2005, Plastic Safety Systems has worked with federal agencies to develop design characteristics for traffic control devices that improve pedestrian safety, and that meet ADA requirements.  As a result, SafetyRail, an ADA-Compliant Pedestrian Barricade, was introduced in early 2008. It provides continuous, obstacle-free guidance through an entire sidewalk work zone, as you can see in this picture.

We all have much work ahead to improve our communities for pedestrians.  PSS has joined America Walks to advocate for improved pedestrian safety in work zones.

Plastic Safety Systems, Inc., with headquarters in Cleveland, OH, manufactures and markets traffic control devices for permanent and temporary applications for the traffic safety industry.  For more information, please visit www.plasticsafety.com, or contact:

William Jamieson, Marketing Mgr.

Plastic Safety Systems, Inc.

800-662-6338

wejamieson(at)plasticsafety.com