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When planning an accessible trail, user experience must be the first consideration. All Persons Trails offer various visitor experiences, for example, 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, a 1-2 km trail is recommended. Many people look for longer or more adventurous trail experiences; however, for All Persons Trails, the intention is to develop a trail that is safe and enjoyable for as many people as possible.
- To allow use by the greatest number of people, a firm and stable surface is important, such as asphalt, concrete, 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.
- 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.
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.
5. OBSTACLES & PROTRUDING OBJECTS
- 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 your trail and remember to keep them off the path of travel.
- If the boardwalk is lengthy, 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.