Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System
Driveways built like intersections encourage high-speed turns.
Several driveway design characteristics may cause safety and access problems for pedestrians, including excessively wide and/or sloped driveways, driveways with large turning radii, multiple adjacent driveways, driveways that are not well defined, and driveways where motorist attention is focused on finding a gap in congested traffic.
Examples of driveway improvements include narrowing driveways, tightening turning radii, and improving driveway definition. Smaller driveway radii of 15 to 20 feet are most compatible pedestrian movements because motorists have to slow down to complete the turn. However, on-street parking and bike lanes can increase the effective driveway radius, so care should be taken to balance vehicle and pedestrian safety. Closing (consolidating) driveways or converting driveways to right-in-right-out are additional design strategies that may be part of a larger access management strategy (see Driveway Access).
When driveways cross sidewalks, the sidewalk should be clearly delineated across the driveway (e.g. if the sidewalk is composed of concrete, the concrete surface treatment should be continuous across the driveway) to make it clear to motorists that they must watch for pedestrians. Additionally, it is necessary to maintain a sidewalk level across the driveway with no more than 2 percent cross slope in order to safely accommodate pedestrians in wheelchairs and other mobility devices and to comply with ADA standards. Refer to Chapter 5 in Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part II of II: Best Practices Design Guide for further guidance.5 For narrow curbside sidewalks the sidewalk should be wrapped around the driveway apron as a means to maintain a level sidewalk surface. If this does nOt work due to a lack of right-of-way, it may be necessary to lower the sidewalk to the driveway level (still delineate the driveway). It is also important to minimize large signs and bushes at driveways to improve the visibility between motorists and pedestrians.
In some communities it is not uncommon for parking areas, placed between the roadway and buildings, to have continuous or poorly defined driveways, which increase conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles and create uncomfortable walking environments. Existing driveways that are poorly defined, and are not likely to be reconstructed in the foreseeable future, may be improved using paint to define driveway flares and wheel stops, extruded curb, planters or railings in areas not intended for vehicle ingress/egress and to provide visual and physical separation between the sidewalk and parking area.
As a general rule, driveways should be designed to look like driveways, not roadway intersections. However, in locations where a driveway must function as part of an intersection, it should be designed with pedestrian safety features such as crosswalks, small corner radii, and pedestrian signal heads if signalized. Design guidance is available from several other sources.1,4,5
Authors and Acknowledgements