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Sidewalk Hatch in the Furnishing Zone

June 14, 2012

A sidewalk hatch covers the opening to a vault or other workspace beneath a sidewalk.  With pedestrian traffic as a constant, sidewalk hatches and other obstructions must be regulated.  The city of Portland, OR has provided a well written and thought out guide to sidewalks.  The Portland Pedestrian Design Guide is a collaboration between many programs and agencies.  It also takes into account regulations such as the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990, the City Code, state laws and rules as well as specifications issued by the City Engineer for Portland.   This guide is an excellent example of well planned pedestrian walkways.

The guide splits a sidewalk into four zones.

1.)    The Curb Zone: prevents water from entering the pedestrian space, discourages vehicles from entering the pedestrian area and makes it easy to sweep the street.  Specific heights and widths are required for this zone.

2.)    The Furnishing Zone: a buffer zone separating pedestrians from the road way.  This is the area that trees, signal poles, utility poles, grates, sidewalk hatches, and street furniture are located.  Hatch covers must sit flush with the sidewalk , must have a slightly raised surface that is rough and must be slip resistant even when wet.  Sidewalk grates must also be flush with the sidewalk.

3.)    The Through Pedestrian Zone: pedestrians travel in this zone.  Walking surfaces must be firm and stable as well as a specific width depending on where the sidewalk is located.  A slight slope must be used.

4.)    The Frontage Zone: creates a small area between the property frontage and the pedestrian travel area.

A sidewalk hatch can meet the slip resistant requirement of the guide by being coated with a rough, raised non-slip surface from SlipNOT® Metal Safety Flooring.  Hatches and covers are manufactured and coated to according to city specification.  The city of Portland has used SlipNOT® products in the past on a floating bridge and dock.  Non-slip aluminum plate provided safe travel on a bridge over the Willamette River.  The slip resistant products also surpass ADA requirements for non-slip surfaces.   Keep pedestrians safe and requirements met by using a high quality, high traction product.

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