A plan to bring existing pedestrian facilities – including sidewalks, curb ramps, pedestrian push buttons and driveway entrances – into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was approved by the Pierce County Council Feb. 11.
Pierce County’s Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan for Public Rights-of-Way applies to county-owned facilities within the public road right-of-way in unincorporated Pierce County.
“After a great deal of work and collaboration with our partners, we are thrilled to have an adopted plan that better serves Pierce County. This plan provides direction on how we will make pedestrian facilities more accessible for our community,” said Council Chair Doug Richardson, District 6.
The plan includes elements such as how facilities will be evaluated for compliance, how facilities will be prioritized for improvement, how much it will cost to improve each type of facility, funding sources, and a timeline for improvements. It also includes design standards and procedure improvements to achieve compliance for new infrastructure.
Approximately $100 million is needed to bring existing facilities into compliance, based on the 2018 facility inventory. The county will update its list of ADA-focused projects each year. A project to improve accessibility and sidewalk connectivity along Gem Heights Drive East between 176th Street East and 168th Street East is currently under design, and is expected to be constructed this summer.
The plan will be updated every five years to track progress, refine prioritization methods, and update program costs. Each update will include a public comment period.
Public comment on the draft ADA Transition Plan was accepted in August 2019. Pierce County staff incorporated the feedback into the final plan.
An online open house that provides a high-level overview of the plan is available at www.piercecountywa.gov/ADAtransition.
Pierce County was required under Title II of the ADA to develop a Self-Evaluation Report and an ADA Transition Plan.
Pierce County’s Americans with Disabilities Act Public Rights-of-Way Self-Evaluation Report, which was completed in 2015, included the examination of county policies related to the ADA and an inventory that identified whether existing pedestrian facilities were in compliance with the ADA. This inventory was initially completed in 2015 and is updated as new facilities are built or improved.
As part of the self-evaluation process, Pierce County gathered feedback from the public about which types of pedestrian facility defects pose the biggest impact to accessibility, and which locations are most important for the public to be able to reach without barriers to access. The feedback was gathered at four public meetings held in November 2014 and from an online survey. The Self-Evaluation Report is available at www.piercecountywa.gov/ADAtransition.
Erin Babbo, Communications Specialist