Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sidewalks and crossings will be accessible to people with disabilities

Clad in orange vests, with checklists in hand, four civil engineering students from MU met at Fourth and Walnut streets Tuesday morning to evaluate the accessibility of sidewalks, crosswalks and curb ramps for people with disabilities.

In two weeks, the students will turn in a proposal to the city with details about the sidewalks and crossings in downtown Columbia that need to be added or changed. The goal is to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Fixing the sidewalks is on a bigger to-do list of improvements for the city.

“It will be a two-year project for all sidewalks in Columbia to be ADA-accessible,” said Tony St. Romaine, assistant city manager and ADA coordinator for the city. “Historical downtown is higher priority because many of the facilities there were made without concern for ADA accessibility.”

St. Romaine asked Carlos Sun, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at MU, for help with the downtown project, called public right-of-way analysis.

Sun chose four of his senior undergraduate students to help with the pilot phase of creating a checklist to determine the conditions of the sidewalks and crossings in the downtown area, St. Romaine said.

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