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Street Repaving Presents Accessibility Problem

July 20, 2009 Accessibility, Downtown 8 Comments

In the short time span between the opening of Citygarden and the All-Star game the city repaved Chestnut street between Citygarden and AT&T.  Generally new paving is a good thing, except for those of us using wheelchairs.  Certainly during the time that old asphalt is removed and new installed streets can be difficult to cross.  But once the new asphalt is down it should be good, right?  Wrong.

The repaving changed the relationship with the ADA ramp at 10th & Chestnut.  As you can see in the above picture the footplate on my chair now hits the ramp on approach from the street.

Similarly, the footplate hits the asphalt when attempting to enter the crosswalk from the ramp.   I’m alerting the appropriate officials about this issue so the excess asphalt at the corner can be shaved off.

This is not the first time I’ve had to do so — it is a recurring problem.  It is hard to capture in a photo without a chair as I’ve done above but anyone with any sense should be able to see the problem.  The street paving crews must be reminded to pay attention as they are putting down new asphalt — now many other ramps out there have the same issues?  I can’t check each and every ramp in the entire city.

Thanks to my friend Marcia Behrendt for taking the above pictures.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. Dustin Bopp says:

    Unfortunately, since it’s an afterthought, just shaving down the asphalt in the ramp locations will cause water to pool there. Water and dirt will collect and in the winter it will freeze and become a hazard for everyone.

  2. Joe says:

    I agree with the problem, but seems like chair manufacturers could help make their chairs more mobile with a few design tweaks. Redesigning the sidewalks to account for all types (people, chairs, strollers, etc) can lead to some poor designs and is expensive. Better for chair manufacturers to design chairs which better adapt to all sorts of levels of ADA “compliance”. Plus it’ll directly empower the chair rider by giving them the freedom to get around. If we wait for the city to adjust to full ADA compliance everywhere, we’ll be waiting a lifetime. Not that it shouldn’t be done, but there are faster ways to solve this problem.

    [slp — the ADA has specific guidelines about these angles and chairs are designed to work for ramps that meet the ADA. This ramp was fine prior to the resurfacing. ]

  3. A reader says:

    I have nothing to add with regard to the sidewalks, but nice choice of shoes! New Balance employs over 100 people in their office in Fenton, including me, so thanks for keeping food on my table. (And they still make about 1/4 of their shoes in the US, too.)

    [slp — I’ve had many pairs of New Balance shoes over the years. My brother Randy bought these for me when I was in the hospital — they are 2 sizes too big so they left shoe will fit over my leg brace. I wasn’t aware New Balance had a local office and still made some shoes in the U.S.]

  4. Angelo says:

    Are you aware of the street improvement project for Cherokee Street? I would suggest attending the meetings…(if you need me to, I will get back to you on the time and place for the next one).

  5. Dole says:

    Keep up the good work!

  6. ME says:

    Shouldn’t you be walking more instead of using the chair?

    [slp — I walk considerably more than 3 months ago and way more than a year ago. I continue to push myself. But if I could make it to Citygarden I couldn’t enjoy it once there. I can barely cross Tucker in the chair in the time allowed — no way I could walk that. I’ve worked up to walking across 14th in the time allotted. I also do a lot more walking without a cane — allowing me to carry stuff like laundry. But walking without a cane is very exhausting. The chair gives me the freedom to just enjoy being out.]

  7. Matt says:

    The asphalt around the ramp has been marked for fixing. Looks like the real problem in this case is too much of a slope on the ramp. The ramp was put in to match the existing grade instead of the grade being brought up to meet the new ramp as it should have been done.

  8. TLS says:

    Try going up at an angle.


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