Government

Coralville adopts formal plan for ADA compliance on city's sidewalks

City one of many in the area making improvements

A curb cut located at the intersection of First Avenue and Fifth Street in Coralville on Monday, March 4, 2019. (Cliff Jette /The Gazette)
A curb cut located at the intersection of First Avenue and Fifth Street in Coralville on Monday, March 4, 2019. (Cliff Jette /The Gazette)
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CORALVILLE — The city of Coralville now has a formal plan for making its sidewalks more accessible for people with mobility issues.

The City Council last week adopted a plan to bring the city’s curb ramps in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, having analyzed and identified which ones should be prioritized for replacement.

Although city staff just recently created its ADA Transition Plan, improving curb ramps to comply with federal standards when possible has been the practice for Coralville for years now, said City Engineer Dan Holderness.

“We just wanted to formalize everything in a written document so the public could see it and review it and have input on it,” Holderness said, adding the Iowa Department of Transportation also requires cities to have ADA plans before partnering on road projects. “We envision this as being a living document that we will review on a regular basis, maybe annually to see if we’ve had any comments, concerns from the public.”

According to the document, city staff identified 481 high-priority curb ramps that have steep slopes or no receiving ramp across the street are among the highest priorities to replace.

“Basically it comes down to prioritizing the worst ones first,” Holderness said. “And then we’re going to look at other areas that have higher pedestrian volumes,” like along school routes or near government facilities.

To tackle all the improvments, the city is focusing on certain zones of the city and will progress to others as projects are complete. The eastern half of Holiday Road north of Interstate 80 is part of the current area the city is focusing on this year, with multiple intersections like the ones at Hilltop Drive, Olde Hickory Road and High Country Road needing improvements.

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Holderness added that if the city receives concerns or complaints about a particular intersection, it will be addressed as soon as possible.

To fund the improvements, Holderness said his department has asked the council to budget $50,000 per year. Additionally, any time the city has a street or city right of way construction project, crews will take the time to bring all the ramps in the area up to ADA compliance.

Coralville is the latest city in the area working to improve its curb ramps. The city of Cedar Rapids has a four-year settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which in part requires the city to either install or replace 3,800 curb ramps.

April Wing, program manager for the Cedar Rapids City Manager’s Office, said staff expect the city to bid out more than 500 curb ramps for improvement in 2019, mostly in the city’s southwest quadrant.

In Iowa City, Simon Andrew, assistant to the city manager, said $100,000 per year is budgeted for improving curb ramps around the city, with more being replaced during various construction projects. Andrew said in all, fewer than 100 intersections in the city are still without ramps.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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