LETTER: Ramp is not best choice for bridge access
Regarding access to a new pedestrian bridge, Glenwood Springs council members have a choice to provide accessibility to pedestrians of all ages and abilities and mix them with bicyclists and skateboarders and the disabled on a ramp. This is the stated recommendation in the city’s staff report and by CDOT, but the ramp would be excessively long and it does not satisfy the ADA’s primary rationale.
There is a second choice. The intent of the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] is to ensure accessibility to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, canes, crutches, walkers or other mobility devices. At this specific location an elevator/lift is the best choice, and it would be a point of interest, an attraction and an investment that has the possibility to boost the economy and truly provide equal access to all.
The ramp provides access, but a long ramp rising 22 feet requires the elderly and disabled to walk the length of a football field to get to the same point at the bridge entrance that an able bodied person can get to by simply walking up a flight of stairs. A long narrow ramp with bicycles and skateboarders adds unnecessary risk to all.
To help make this choice place yourself in a wheelchair on Seventh Street on a cold icy day slowly making your way up the 100 yard long ramp to get onto the bridge. Also, imagine that this climbing activity requires you to use supplemental oxygen as prescribed by your doctor. I believe you surely can be convinced an elevator would be a better option.
The point is that you are the ADA expert you are looking for. It is common sense when it comes to understanding which solution best provides equal access to all. An able bodied individual can quickly climb the 22-foot rise on a stairway and a bicyclist can easily dismount and push his bike up the stair ramp adjacent the stairway. We are the home of the world¹s largest hot springs, which attracts a greater percentage of the worlds aging population to our town.
A ramp will get us by with the ADA, but is that all we really want to do? This is an opportunity to do something great. I hope you will look at the DDA option for stair and elevator and go forward with the design development of this option.
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