To ensure that its curb ramps make the grade, Bellevue is consulting residents with expertise. On Monday, two people with wheelchairs, a man who uses a wheeled walker and a man with a vision disability tested a half dozen ramps in and near downtown.
To improve accessibility, the city has been installing curb ramps on many of its sidewalks, but the city is looking at how various ramp features impact accessibility. The resdents' comments will help the city prioritize improvements as financial resources become available.
Jay Karns, Michael Moran, Rima Saha and Larry Showalter assessed a variety of ramps for Bellevue's Transportation Department, providing valuable feedback to staff, who helped them fill out detailed forms that rated each ramp for features such as steepness, smoothness and the presence of yellow warning bumps.
The evaluation was part of a larger effort by the city to comply with the federal American with Disabilities Act by making sure programs and facilities are accessible to people with disabilities.
From 2007 to 2009, Bellevue will have spent more than $2 million to upgrade nearly 300 curb ramps citywide. Bellevue is also repairing uneven sidewalks buckled by tree roots, improving traffic signals and crosswalks for pedestrians and providing appropriate services when needed to ensure effective communication with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Monday's assessment was made possible with help from King County Metro Accessible Services, which helped coordinate the visits and supplied accessible vans.
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