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Thread: Is city required to have curb cuts?

  1. #1

    Is city required to have curb cuts?

    What exactly are the rules on curb cuts in the US?

    Where I live, downtown in a pretty wealthy (for the south) rapidly growing little city/big town probably 99% of the curbs have curb cuts, but there are some glaring omissions which force me to jaywalk across a relatively busy downtown street or just roll a half block in the street going against traffic.

    If I ask them to fix it (haven't done that yet) can they just tell me to piss off or are they actually required to have curb cuts on all curbs a sidewalk crosses?

  2. #2
    Yes, where indicated. When the ADA passed into law in 1991, it required local governments (cities, counties, etc.) to develop and implement a plan to remedy deficiencies such as this. Many cities did, but I know in San Diego, while they did the plan, they failed to implement it in a timely manner (in spite of many local disability advocates addressing the City Council on this), requiring a class action suit by a group of local disability organizations and advocates. They won the suit, and the City has proceeded to implement their plan, although it is still a "work in progress" and they continue to need a push from these organizations even today on a regular basis.

    Your local ILC should be on top of this. Most have an ADA compliance officer. Cities and counties are also required to have an ADA compliance officer who is supposed to overlook all compliance with retrofits and assure that new construction meets the standards. There is a great deal of variability in how well this is done; constant vigilance by advocacy groups and individuals impacted by this is often needed.

    Here is some information from the ADA FAQs page: https://www.ada.gov/pubs/t2qa.txt

    9. Q: Does a city have to provide curb ramps at every
    intersection on existing streets?

    A: No. To promote both efficiency and accessibility,
    public entities may choose to construct curb ramps at every point
    where a pedestrian walkway intersects a curb, but they are not
    necessarily required to do so. Alternative routes to buildings
    that make use of existing curb cuts may be acceptable under the
    concept of program accessibility in the limited circumstances
    where individuals with disabilities need only travel a marginally
    longer route. In addition, the fundamental alteration and undue
    burden limitations may limit the number or curb ramps required.

    To achieve or maintain program accessibility, it may be
    appropriate to establish an ongoing procedure for installing curb
    ramps upon request in areas frequented by individuals with
    disabilities as residents, employees, or visitors.

    However, when streets, roads, or highways are newly built or
    altered, they must have ramps or sloped areas wherever there are
    curbs or other barriers to entry from a sidewalk or path.
    Likewise, when new sidewalks or paths are built or are altered,
    they must contain curb ramps or sloped areas wherever they
    intersect with streets, roads, or highways. Resurfacing beyond
    normal maintenance is an alteration. Merely filling potholes is
    considered to be normal maintenance.
    (KLD)
    Last edited by SCI-Nurse; 06-25-2017 at 04:20 PM.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the link KLD, it looks like the answer is actually no, they don't have to provide a curb cut there

    "9. Q: Does a city have to provide curb ramps at everyintersection on existing streets?

    A: No. To promote both efficiency and accessibility,
    public entities may choose to construct curb ramps at every point
    where a pedestrian walkway intersects a curb, but they are not
    necessarily required to do so. Alternative routes to buildings
    that make use of existing curb cuts may be acceptable under the
    concept of program accessibility in the limited circumstances
    where individuals with disabilities need only travel a marginally
    longer route. In addition, the fundamental alteration and undue
    burden limitations may limit the number or curb ramps required."



    I guess the best I can do is ask them to fix it, wait a couple month, and if it's not fixed show up with some quickcrete at 3 am on a Tuesday and sort it out myself.

  4. #4
    Have any of these streets been "refurbished", ie, resurfaced, since 1991? If so, this triggers a requirement to install curb cuts.

    Have you talked to your local ILC or other disability advocacy organizations in your city? Not sure where you are located (not in your profile).

    (KLD)
    Last edited by SCI-Nurse; 06-26-2017 at 08:36 AM.

  5. #5
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    If the streets and roads exist without the curb cut now, all you can do is request cuts where necessary. If a cut is necessary to allow you to cross the street in a legal spot, you have far more leverage with your request. Contact your County extension office, try to get information to who is is the FMHA authority. If your local govt shrugs you off contact the FMHA authority, Federal cost sharing goes through this Office.

    Now if the city/Town is rebuilding a thoroughfare then they are obligated to make cuts and sidewalks comply to current federal highway standards. On new construction all Federal cost sharing moneys can be withheld from that political entity, State, County or local ! Quite a hammer. BUT your request must be made in a timely manner. Sending a written request by certified mail return receipt requested assures you that the request is received. Additional telephone requests does not hurt.

    As can be seen in many places such requests can be more than simply ignored keeping copies of your requests properly dated, and copies sent to all the Dept of transportation is advised with notification that your original letter was sent certified mail are keys to a successful petition.

    Good Luck !!!!!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    Have any of these streets been "refurbished", ie, resurfaced, since 1991? If so, this triggers a requirement to install curb cuts.

    Have you talked to your local ILC or other disability advocacy organizations in your city? Not sure where you are located (not in your profile).

    (KLD)
    As far as I can tell the road hasn't been resurfaced in many, many years, but I've only been here for a little over one year so I can't be sure. I contacted the ILC through their website, but just got an automatic reply saying whomever answers the emails is out of town.

    Also, no plans to list my specific location (ever), but somewhere in the united states.

  7. #7
    My city isn't the friendliest with regard to access. On the greenway here the rules specifically prohibit motorized wheelchairs unless someone has a permit for the motorized wheelchair (something which does not exist in my state) which they keep on them at all times while using the greenway.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by funklab View Post
    My city isn't the friendliest with regard to access. On the greenway here the rules specifically prohibit motorized wheelchairs unless someone has a permit for the motorized wheelchair (something which does not exist in my state) which they keep on them at all times while using the greenway.
    Is a greenway a Bike Boulevard? If so I bet they allow motorized bikes. Besides that I doubt taken to court the motorized part of banning a wheelchair is enforceable. As far as that goes, I see little difference between motorized two wheeler and three or four wheeler. But there is a distinction because when I bought mine the bike guy told me not to take the chain off, it then becomes a motorcycle. The difference with a motorized wheelchair is the ADA. I think someone will versed in it could win.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by nonoise View Post
    Is a greenway a Bike Boulevard? If so I bet they allow motorized bikes. Besides that I doubt taken to court the motorized part of banning a wheelchair is enforceable. As far as that goes, I see little difference between motorized two wheeler and three or four wheeler. But there is a distinction because when I bought mine the bike guy told me not to take the chain off, it then becomes a motorcycle. The difference with a motorized wheelchair is the ADA. I think someone will versed in it could win.
    Not sure exactly what a bike boulevard is, but the greenway is essentially a 10-12 foot wide sidewalk running along the river. They do allow bicycles, but not motorized bikes of any kind, and that's the section that bans power chairs.

    I've seen bunches of powerchairs down there and I doubt anyone is harassing them and checking their permits, but someone went out of their way to include that line in the rules for the greenway, which says a lot imo.

  10. #10
    Our city has curb cuts. We bought our home long before my husband's accident and never noticed that most of the cuts were on the other side of the street !

    City workers came by a few years ago and re-surfaced all the formerly smooth cement cuts with rows or raised cement domes. It's supposed to be for individuals with low vision who use canes. For wheelchair users, it created a bumpy, wobbly ride.

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