Curb cuts needed

This intersection, at 6th Street and Main Street in South Glens Falls, is one of many that is not handicap-accessible. The Village Board recently voted to build curb cuts with every sidewalk project involving an intersection.

Kathleen Moore, kmoore@poststar.com

SOUTH GLENS FALLS — The village will add handicap-accessible curb cuts as it rebuilds sidewalks, the Village Board has decided.

The village has a 50-50 cost-sharing program in which homeowners can get their sidewalk replaced. Village workers do the construction.

But recently, a homeowner on Hudson Street asked to join the program. The sidewalk in question includes an intersection, but there’s no curb cut.

The homeowner didn’t want to pay the much-higher price of putting in a curb cut, so the Village Board agreed the village would pay.

Then they agreed they would make every intersection handicap-accessible as they replace sidewalks through the program.

“The village will accept that responsibility,” Mayor Harry Gutheil said.

The village might get reimbursed by the state CHIPS grant for the curb cuts, but village officials weren’t sure.

“If not, we’ll do it anyway,” Gutheil said.

Walking the village, he noticed that many intersections do not have a curb cut. That makes the sidewalk impassible to those who rely on wheelchairs.

“Many are not ADA compliant,” he said. “We should strive to be complaint.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires municipalities to provide curb cuts. Without it, federal officials warned, people with disabilities must decide between not getting to their destination and using the roadway, where they risk getting hit by a car.

“This is a choice that people with disabilities should not be required to make,” the ADA chapter on curb cuts reads.

The rules were recently amended to include “detectable warnings,” which appear as small regular bumps placed at the bottom of each curb cut.

They help people with limited vision to know when they are about to enter the roadway.

The bumps are technically not yet required at all curb cuts, according to the federal government, but must be installed whenever federal money is used on the project, as well as at bus stations, train stations and other transit facilities. The federal Access Board has proposed a rule requiring them for all other sidewalks as well.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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