The City of Columbus keeps installing wheelchair-accessible ramps at locations where there are no sidewalks.
A viewer recently wrote in to 10 Investigates, complaining that it’s a waste of tax money.
It turns out that the city has no choice.
The corner of Weldon Avenue and Dresden Street in northeast Columbus is a construction zone.
Crews are in the midst of a street-resurfacing project, and when it’s done, those in the area will see a new asphalt road, new sidewalks and wheelchair ramps.
But as neighbors watched the work, they noticed that several of those wheelchair ramps are not connected to sidewalks.
Nor will they be.
According to Columbus city officials, that is the way the ramps are supposed to be, just as the Americans With Disabilities Act requires.
“Someone who’s in a wheelchair, when they make the transition from the pavement to the wheelchair ramp or the wheelchair ramp to the pavement, it’s nice and smooth. It’s not a bumpy ride for them. They are not in danger of falling over,” said Rick Tilton with the city. “So, they’re safe rolling up the ramp or rolling down onto the new pavement.”
Tilton said the ramps are required, even when they do not lead to sidewalks.
At Smoky Row and Billingsley roads in northwest Columbus, just outside the Interstate 270 loop, Tilton said the ramps will allow someone in a wheelchair to safely and smoothly reach the signal push button to trigger the crosswalk light.
It is a pad surrounded by grass there.
“It’s easy to take for granted when you’re mobile and you don’t have to depend on a wheelchair, and maybe you don’t have to depend on braces,” he said. “Put yourself in their place.”
At approximately $2,800 each, some taxpayers are critical.
Tilton said it is about safety, though.
“We want to make it easy for them,” he said. “We want to make it safe for them. It’s just like any other pedestrian. We want pedestrians, whether they’re walking, whether they’re in wheelchairs, whether they have other mobility issues, we want to make sure they’re safe.”
The ramps are required everywhere, so even those who do not live in the City of Columbus will see them.
Cities that don’t follow the federal regulations could be subject to lawsuits.
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