Winter Maintenance of Pedestrian Facilities

Father walks his kids to school in the middle of the road because the sidewalks are covered in snow.Are pedestrians able to navigate slick or snowy sidewalks in your jurisdiction following a winter storm?

Maintaining continuously accessible pathways are essential for individuals who walk as a primary form of transportation to get to school, work, or a transit stop. Sidewalks and pedestrian facilities that are covered by snow or ice can impact the safety, accessibility, and mobility of pedestrians.

Snow covered sidewalks are not ADA accessible

Not only are snowy and icy sidewalks dangerous, but they can create transportation equity issues. Lack of equal access to a facility of public accommodation, such as a sidewalk, may be regarded as a civil rights issue. Title II of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits individuals with disabilities from being discriminated against on the basis of disability in the services, programs, or activities of all state and local governments. Because ADA Title II requires “maintenance of accessible features” by public entities, snow-covered or poorly maintained sidewalks can be problematic if the public entity does not “provide ready access to individuals with disabilities.”

Winter Maintenance of Pedestrian Facilities in Delaware: A Guide for Local GovernmentsWinter Maintenance of Pedestrian Facilities in Delaware: A Guide for Local Governments provides information on how Delaware local governments can improve sidewalk snow removal and winter-maintenance practices to foster walking as a year-round activity and safe mode of transportation. The publication explains how Delaware local governments can clarify and better coordinate responsibilities for winter maintenance of pedestrian facilities, improve the timely removal of snow on pedestrian facilities, ensure ADA compliance, consider winter maintenance best practices and snow removal innovations, and adopt winter maintenance-management plans.

In addition to this guide, the Delaware Center for Transportation’s  T²/LTAP Program provides courses and workshops, as well as technical briefs and case summaries for Delaware local governments on ADA, Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility, and  Winter Maintenance.