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 that make use of existing curb cuts may be acceptable where individuals with disabilities need only travel a marginally longer route. As a general rule, curb cuts and ramps are considered “readily achievable” in terms of providing “reasonable accommodation” to the disabled in public places.
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 are built or altered, they must contain curb ramps or sloped areas. The Road Ordinance and Manual of Design and Construction Standards requires all new road construction proposed for County maintenance to comply with ADA standards for accessibility.
The Department of Public Works & Transportation improves curb ramp accessibility on all county-maintained roadways to ensure compliance with the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) as a part of a formal Transition Plan. The County began planning its’ federally mandated ADA curb cut project on August 2, 1992. On August 2, 1992 the DPW&T performed a self-assessment to determine areas which had inadequate or non-existent handicapped accessible ramps. Sidewalk Cutting During the initial survey 106 locations were identified along twenty three (23) County-maintained roadways. On March 4, 1994 the County began the formal bid process to adjust existing handicapped access and installing new access ramps in conformance with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards of the “American with Disabilities Handbook”. The original construction estimate was in the amount of $120,000. On May 17, 1999, 223 locations were re-evaluated and $219,000 programmed in the Capital Improvement Program to meet or exceed current accessibility standards. Construction on the following locations began in calendar year 1999 and was completed in June 2000. Based on field observations, in September 1999, the County has programmed an additional $307,000 in the FY 2001 Capital Improvement Program to complete compliance requirements, improve access and general circulation in an attempt to exceed the bare minimum State and/or Federal requirements. extensions of sidewalks and transitions from curbing to existing paved shoulders. 39 additional ramps were completed between 10/2/00 and 3/1/01 – 44 more between 4/1/01 and 8/1/01, including 3,650 square feet of sidewalk—with an estimated 15 ramps left for completion (excluding those within CIP projects such as South Coral Drive, Patuxent Park and South Hampton Subdivisions).
To achieve or maintain program accessibility, the DPW&T has an on-going procedure for installing curb ramps upon request in areas frequented by individuals with disabilities. In addition, if citizens notice an area that may need repair or improved accessibility, we strongly encourage them to fill out our on-line Maintenance Request Form. For more information, please view the U.S. Department of Justice’s ADA Home Page.