Here’s an email that recently came to the office, unsigned.
It bounced around a bit before it came my direction because there was no name, either of the sender or for a receiver. That also delayed getting an answer, of course.
Despite the missing names, I thought this one needed a response. Any time you’re dealing with tax dollars and/or the Americans With Disabilities Act, someone needs to clear things up, don’t you think?
Topic: Wheelchair ramps to nowhere.
Have you seen them putting in wheelchair ramps to nowhere up and down May Avenue, and many other corners all over town?
How many people do you see using wheelchairs up and down May Avenue, for example? These ramps many times are not usable to people in wheelchairs, even if they tried to use them.
Many have a telephone pole in the middle of the ramp. Many don’t even have a sidewalk after the ramp. Many would put the wheelchair on somebody’s lawn.
The city is probably spending thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the wheelchair ramps to nowhere.
The topic involves more than just one entity. Both the state Transportation Department AND the City of Oklahoma City have an interest and it includes federal money.
First, the work isn’t finished.
When the project is completed, the problems you mentioned should be handled.
Now, to narrow this down a bit, let’s focus on the area along May Avenue.
“This particular project on May Avenue between NW 36 and Britton Road is a partnership between the City of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma Department of Transportation,” says Mills Gotcher, one of the information specialists at the Transportation Department.
“It is part of ODOT’s Surface Transportation Program, which allows cities to use federal dollars funneled through ODOT specifically to support improvement projects. Because federal dollars are being used, it is a federal requirement to make each major crossing along this project ADA compliant, which they are. The funding split is 80 percent federal and 20 percent city, with the total cost of $3.8 million.
“The city designed the project and ODOT awarded it and is overseeing the ramp installation and pavement overlay. The project started in January and is expected to be completed this summer, about June, barring weather delays.”
The plan was to do as much work as possible at night along about now — weather permitting, she said.
If you’ve driven through that area recently, you may have seen that occurring.
“It can be daunting doing an overlay and ramp installations at the same time and that often calls for multiple and various lane closures. We appreciate the public being patient with us. As anyone who has driven May Avenue knows, it certainly needs the work.”
No argument there, I would believe.
So can you expect to see more ramp work on city streets? You bet.
Shannon Cox, the public information and marketing manager in the city’s Public Works Department, says you can expect work at these locations as part of the MAPS 3 master sidewalk plan: on May from SW 59 and SW 61 to SW 80 and SW 89, NW 50 to NW 63, NW 36 to NW 50, Hefner to Quail Creek north of NW 122, SW 29 to SW 59 and NW 63 to Wilshire.
She adds that dates are yet to be determined.
By the way ...
Shannon notes that “any new road/sidewalk construction is required to make the area that is disturbed/effected ADA compliant but is not required to provide a sidewalk along the project extent. Adding the ramps at corners allows users to get off of the street.
“Unfortunately, this is always a work in progress as we continue to make the city ADA compliant.”
This work eventually can lead to progress for everyone.
Enjoy your week and drive safely.