Curb ramp requirements

On street resurfacing projects, curb ramps can’t wait.

Have you noticed resurfaced streets that lack curb ramps? If so, you’re not alone.

The Renew Atlanta infrastructure bond program is well underway. Street and sidewalk maintenance are essential government responsibilities – and we’re pleased to see that numerous streets have been resurfaced.

Bad ramp on Monroe Drive

Curb ramps will be installed at the intersection of Monroe Drive and Montgomery Ferry during the first week of April.

We’re concerned, however, that many resurfaced streets lack well-designed curb ramps. In 2009 the City of Atlanta signed a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department regarding curb ramps. The agreement requires Atlanta to install ramps on all streets that had been resurfaced since ADA went into effect in 1992.

Using separate contractors is fine. Lack of coordination isn’t.

Sally Flocks, President & CEO of PEDS, serves on the Bond Technical Advisory Committee. When she raised this issue at meetings last fall, Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza promised that ramps are coming. The city is using two different contractors, he explained. One is assigned to asphalt. The other to concrete projects.

Contracting with two different companies is fine. But failing to coordinate their work is unacceptable. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that curb ramp work be completed prior to or at the same time as the rest of the project.

Missing curb ramps should not be a problem on future projects.

We’re pleased to report that Faye Dimassimo, the General Manager of the Renew Atlanta Infrastructure Program,took Sally’s request seriously. 

A few days after the March meeting, Dimassimo told project managers and field engineers that no resurfacing project should start prior to the completion of ADA ramps and curb repairs unless that work is included in the actual resurfacing scope.

Thanks to her efforts, project managers and field engineers will cut curbs, not corners.

Transparency is essential.

City Council members Yolanda Adrean and Mary Norwood and Rebecca Serna, Executive Director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, also serve on the advisory committee. For each of us, increasing transparency on project costs and prioritization are top priorities.

Help maintain the momentum.