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A barrier is something that prevents unhindered travel along a pedestrian facility within Everett’s right of way. Examples of barriers include sidewalk obstructions, such as utility poles or overgrown vegetation; cracked or uneven sidewalks; curb ramps that are missing or don’t meet current ADA standards; and existing pedestrian signals where the pushbutton is inaudible, inaccessible or missing.
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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides comprehensive civil rights protections for people with disabilities. Title II of the ADA requires state and local governments to ensure that their programs, services and facilities are accessible to people with disabilities by developing an ADA Transition Plan.
Everett Public Works developed a Public Right-of-Way ADA Transition Plan to address the requirements of Title II of the ADA that apply to pedestrian facilities. The transition plan is required to maintain Everett’s eligibility for federal funding. The plan specifies the steps that Public Works will take to address accessibility barriers within Everett’s right of way. The plan is meant to be a living document that will be updated annually as we complete projects, identify new projects and as we get public feedback. This process involves multiple work groups and funding sources and will continue to be a priority for Public Works.
Pedestrian facilities are those intended for pedestrian travel, such as sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, shared paths and pedestrian signals. The public right of way is land acquired or dedicated for public roads and streets.
In 2011, Everett Public Works began a self-evaluation of our pedestrian facility inventory, and we have been working on our draft transition plan for many years. To create the self-evaluation inventory, crews travel 733 lane-miles of streets covering over 3,326 individual road segments and 1,536 intersections. In 2018, we made the draft Public Right-of-Way ADA Transition Plan available on our website.
This year, we are conducting a major public outreach process before we finalize the 2021 transition plan, to get as much feedback as possible to incorporate into the plan. We are required to have a final plan by April 2021. After we finalize the 2021 plan, we will continue to take public input through our regular feedback procedures.
The transition plan and the evaluation of pedestrian facilities was completed by Public Works staff. Projects outlined in the plan will be completed by the City streets department, contractors who work on City projects or private developers who have projects that impact the City right of way.
Public input from the open house will help us identify and prioritize barrier removals. It is an important way to inform the community about our Public Right-of-Way ADA Transition Plan and to encourage communication between the City and the public we serve.
We have a procedure for the public to submit feedback about barriers and to contact the ADA compliance team. People can submit service requests and feedback by email, phone and on the City website. Providing a public feedback procedure is a requirement of the transition plan.
People can read about the plan and participate at Everett’s online open house. We sent flyers and emails to local advocacy groups, providing information about the online open house and the various ways to provide feedback online or by phone.
The online open house includes the current draft version of the transition plan; an interactive mapping tool and form to report barriers; a PowerPoint presentation about the plan; and a link to attend a public meeting where we will be answering questions about the plan. There is also contact information provided for the ADA Compliance Team.
Feedback we get will be included in the final 2021 version of the plan. Our main goal for this feedback is to get public input on barriers and priorities. We welcome other feedback on the plan and will consider it when finalizing the current plan and future plans.
Everett Public Works uses multiple methods to fund ADA improvements, including regular pavement maintenance, capital, and transportation improvement projects. Here are a few examples of how Everett funds barrier improvements. Sewer replacement or water main projects may also build new curb ramps during construction. Our Streets budget and Traffic Operations budget include barrier removals. In 2019, our Streets division installed 80 curb ramps and responded to 380 customer requests for sidewalk, curb and gutter repairs.
Everett will incorporate public feedback in the 2021 plan and continue to do so in future plans. We will review and update the plan annually. The public feedback forms will continue to be available so people can contact us at any time to report a barrier or ask questions.
Making pedestrian facilities compliant with ADA requirements is part of our everyday work. Each Public Works project is reviewed to ensure we meet ADA requirements. All transportation projects have ADA components. For example, ADA improvements are an important part of safe routes to school and active transportation projects. City staff take regular training courses on ADA requirements.
Constructing new sidewalk is not part of the ADA transition plan. Sidewalk construction is typically accomplished through three methods: as a condition of private development, as part of a grant funded transportation project and by the adjacent property owners. If someone with a need reports missing sidewalk as a barrier, they can report it through the standard feedback procedure, and we can direct them to an accessible route.