Hennepin County has a plan to make it easier for those on foot to get around and bringing its sidewalks, traffic signals and pedestrian ramps into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Over the next four years, the county wants to replace, modify or repair pavement and signals that do not comply with the ADA. Residents have until Friday to comment on the ADA Program Access and Transition Plan.
A recent survey of the county's 12,000 pedestrian ramps, a short ramp that cuts into the curb as shown above, found that nearly half needed some kind of modification to comply with the ADA. It also found that a scant .25 percent of sidewalks also need an upgrade. In some cases that means moving signs, utility poles or fire hydrants to eliminate barriers to sidewalks and intersections.
The cost to make the improvements is about $35 million. The county has allocated $600,000 a year through 2018 to repair pedestrian ramps and $200,000 for sidewalk related projects.
The county is responsible for 300 miles of sidewalk outside the Minneapolis city limits and for 900 traffic signals. Only about 8 percent of signals have Accessible Pedestrian Signals, which is a device that communicates information in non-visual formats regarding the "Walk" and "Don't Walk" intervals at signalized intersections.
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