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When planning an accessible trail, user experience must be the first consideration. All Persons Trails provide access and opportunities for all visitors to experience the trail, landscapes, unique features, viewpoints and multi-sensory elements.
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- When designing an All Persons Trail, consider a loop that connects a variety of features and viewpoints.
- To be as inclusive as possible consider distance, turn-around points, and the benefit of loop trails that allow users to return to the start without requiring a turn-around.
- To allow use by the greatest number of people, a firm and stable surface is important, such as asphalt, concrete, compacted crushed aggregate, rubber or boardwalk.
- Minimize cracks, holes, bumps and roots; any wooden planks should be placed horizontally across the trail, rather than vertically along the trail.
- Choose surface material that minimizes maintenance.
- Develop a maintenance plan to ensure the surface remains clear and free from loose material.
- Minimal grade is recommended, preferably under 5%.
- If longer sections of steeper slopes are necessary, consider adding flat rest areas with seating along the slope.
- A 2-degree cross-slope remains accessible while providing adequate drainage to avoid water pooling on the trail.
4. TRAIL WIDTH
- Clear width should be free from obstructions.
- Plan for two users with wheelchairs to pass each other.
- Consider space for service animals.
- Remember that electric wheelchairs require more space than manual wheelchairs.
- If narrower sections are needed, add passing spaces at regular intervals.
- Help keep trail users safe by avoiding these common obstacles:
- Tread obstacles that interrupt the evenness of the trail surface, including rocks, roots, cracks and ruts.
- Vertical obstacles such as trees, shrubs or signage.
- Other objects, such as benches, planters and bike racks can create a barrier. Keep this in mind when planning the placement of objects along the Trail and remember to keep them off the path of travel.
- If the boardwalk is long, consider making it wide enough to allow two people using electric wheelchairs to pass easily or create passing spaces at regular intervals.
- Ensure that the approach to the boardwalk has an even surface with no steps, gaps or openings.
- Use firm, non-slip materials whenever possible.
- Provide edge protection along all boardwalks, bridges and lookouts.