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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Second time around

A reader in Portland writes:

I noticed what looks to be a planned replacement of two perfectly good wheelchair ramps on NE 51st and Thompson. It strikes me as odd, spending limited monies to replace relatively new ramps, instead of installing new ones where none exist. Maybe I just don’t see the big picture.
The reader sends along these photos:

About the best we can figure is that (a) the other two corners at that crossroads don't have ramps; (b) the two that are pictured above have ramps that spill into the intersection diagonally, rather than at a 90-degree angle, as the city now prefers; and (c) since city crews are installing new right-angle ramps on the other two, they figured they might as well replace the diagonals as well. Maybe the idea is not to confuse visually impaired people who can't see that they're going from one angle to another.

Still, you wish the bureaucrats would make up their minds and stop redoing what's already been done. As the reader points out, there are plenty of other corners in town that could use any ramps, at any angle. Not to mention the miles and miles of dangerous streets in town that aren't paved at all.

Comments (12)

And notice all of the wheel chair traffic.

That congestion is unacceptable.

They could also be bubble curbing it.

I also note that one of the ramps is still filled with water when the rest of the street is dry.

This is year two of a Nation Wide effort of make-work stimulus projects involving needless ADA ramp replacements.

You might track just how many people are involved in these cut-out replacements starting with the environmental impact statement writers to the last Davis-Bacon worker to pick up the barricades.

My guess you will see six to eight workers at job each site and they will include one contract engineer and one city engineer there to watch all the contract workers.

But watch closely at traffic light controlled intersections as some cities are having surveillance cameras installed under the cover of ADA ramp reconstruction.

Note: The engineers are those wearing tennis shoes without OSHA approved steel toes.

I once listened to a wheelchair advocate make a very reasonable argument against the single, diagonal ramp. They essentially put the user out into the middle of the street, where they have to re-align to continue on their way. Since many are limited in their ability to change directions, this is a lot of work. As for which corners get priority in what order, you got me.

It's better to reinvent the wheel, than to put wheels on the carts that lack any wheels at all.

Just look at all the streets in Portland that aren't even paved...much less streets without sidewalks, shoulders, bike lanes, street lighting, storm sewers, guardrails, signage...

You have to LOVE the fiscal insanity of it all - especially when there are completely unpaved streets in East Portland with potholes almost big enough to swallow Smart Cars.

How come the stimulus projects don't include the construction of any new sidewalks?

How about some new freeways?

If they can build them in San Diego, we ought to be able to build them here.

The ADA requirements for wheelchair ramps was changed about eight or more years ago, to require that the center of the ramp to be in line with the center of the applicable crosswalk. This is significantly safer than a diagonal launch into a space where cars are turning right. If a wheelchair rider is at the throat of a diagnoal ramp, do you as a car driver know which way they are going to go?

As to why PDOT is updating the ramps at this intersection, I don't know.

There is a fairly extensive PBOT project to resurface Sandy Blvd from about 47th to 82nd, and this corner is about a block away from Sandy. Could be related?

I know this area well, it was my mail route for a couple of years. There may not be a lot of wheelchair traffic, but there is a store the sells and repairs the electric scooters at 5132. Related? Probably not, but that puddle gets pretty large when it rains.

If I recall correctly. I'm not one to praise the city often, and I know of many corners lacking this ADA compliant set up, but maybe they are trying to make this right.

In fact most of the area suffers from leaf clogged grates in the fall.

I miss my customers, but that job.....not so much.

Wow...Look at the width on those parking strips. Shouldn't those be 'bioswaled'?

The angle of the newer curb cuts do intuitively seem to be a better design. What I hate are the yellow, Fisher-Price looking tactile strips.

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