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Charlottesville Plans to Address Sidewalk Concerns

By: Frankie Jupiter Email
By: Frankie Jupiter Email

February 17, 2013

Sidewalks lie silently, helping to make a commute easier for those walking through neighborhoods. However, some community members say sidewalk corners in Charlottesville are dangerous.

A study done by the city shows that 38 percent of sidewalks fail to reach federal requirements. The issue is schedule to be discussed at city council's next meeting on Tuesday.

Charlottesville resident Kevin Cox says he has reasons to be concerned about the sidewalks.

"My wife is visually impaired, she's blind. I know from first-hand experience the challenges she faces," said Kevin Cox.

One of those challenges is the lack of truncated domes at the end of many sidewalk curbs.

"It gives people who are in wheelchairs or who have problems with mobility the ability to go where the rest of us go and create a great pathway for blind people and allow them to deal with crossing the street without having the hazard of stepping off a curb," said Cox.

The study shows that under the American with Disabilities Act, both state and local governments are required to make pedestrian crossings accessible to people with disabilities by providing curb ramps.

Cox says there is some skepticism in hoping that the city will fix the issue.

"I've seen the city drag their feet for years," he said. "Lately, they've began to react very promptly and quickly when missing curb ramps or hazards are pointed out to them. I have reason to be encouraged, but I'll believe it when I see it."

The city is recommending continued funding for the citywide ADA improvement. If funding continues at $100,000 per year, the city anticipates 100 percent compliance over the next 30 years.

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