Thousands of Springfield Sidewalk Ramps Not ADA Compliant

A presentation to the Springfield City Council luncheon on the state of the sidewalks and access ramps within the city showed that thousands are not compliant with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The report from Dawne Gardner to the Council also showed that in addition to the ramps that were not compliant, at 499 locations along the 639.9 mile sidewalk system ramps are required but do not exist.

The data puts the city at risk for an investigation by the federal government into the city’s ADA compliance.  

The deficiencies were discovered during a city self-audit of infrastructure conducted from December 2017 to July 2018.  The audit was conducted by a company named Infrastructure Management Systems using a computer equipped ATV.

Of the 10, 297 ramps examined in the audit, only 3,080 are compliant to the current ADA standards while another 1,157 are complaint to older standards.  

Example of the truncated domes placed back in ADA requirements

Many of those compliant to an older standard involve not having “truncated domes” on the ramps.  The domes were initially required for the ADA, then removed, later to be put back in.  City Manager Jason Gage noted that almost every community around the country is facing an issue with the ADA and the return of truncated domes making previously compliant ramps out of compliance.

Another 2,203 were labeled as “partially compliant” with 1,934 labeled “not compliant.”  

The total cost to bring all ramps up to current ADA standards would be around $15 million.

In addition to reporting the compliance issues involving ramps and the ADA, the report also commented on the condition of Springfield sidewalks.

When measured on the Sidewalk Condition Index, only about 40% of sidewalks were rated “good” or “very good” with the biggest breakout in the “fair” category right below the “good” designation.  The average sidewalk condition rated 67, 13 points below the “good” level.

The cost to raise all sidewalks to the “good” level would cost the city $19 million dollars.

City manager Gage noted that the costs shown in the report are partially covered in the current city budget as repairing ramps to ADA requirements take place any time a resurfacing or repair takes place on a city street.  There will be a required additional cost to the city but the totals shown are the actual amount that will be needed in additional funding.

The report outlined several options for the city, including a 20 year plan for compliance that could cost approximately $1.7 million per year.  

A plan is being developed to present to City Council that will be given time for public comment and review by community advocates for the disabled.  The plan will lay out the priorities for compliance with the 499 locations that ramps are needed being in the top priority level.

Councilmember Prater noted that despite these being federal requirements there are not federal funds being given to meet these compliance levels.

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