The following is a press release from MassDOT:
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced today, October 19, it has finalized and released the Transition Plan for Public Rights of Way concerning compliance of state- owned facilities including curbs and sidewalks with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (state and local government entities).
This plan will guide the efforts of MassDOT to improve accessibility for people with a disability in public-facing programs, activities and services within the Highway Division. This significant, progressive change is being made in compliance with disability rights law and practice that are linked to MassDOT’s receipt of federal financial assistance from the Federal Highway Administration, as well as requirements under the ADA.
Following a review and upgrade of agency policies and procedures, a major step in designing this plan was to conduct a survey and inventory of curb ramps where pedestrian paths intersect with state-owned roads, and to prioritize repairs of individual curb cuts that were missing or failing on the basis of several weighted factors (in descending order):
- Persons with Disabilities—prioritizes ramps with higher concentrations of persons with disabilities living in the immediate area
- Safety—prioritizes ramps with higher frequencies of crashes involving pedestrians
- Equity—prioritizes ramps located within areas that exceed demographic thresholds under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act or environmental justice standards
- Demand—prioritizes ramps with higher user volume or located in more densely populated areas
- Coordination Opportunities—prioritizes ramps that can be repaired as part of already-planned projects
- Stakeholder Input—prioritizes ramps that have been identified by the local community as in need of repair
- Ease of Construction—prioritizes ramps located near other ramps in need of repair in order to maximize efficiency
- Existing Conditions—prioritizes sidewalks with no ramps at all over sidewalks that have ramps in need of repair
- Constraints—prioritizes ramps that can be repaired without temporary easements or interference with private property
MassDOT will share the results of this prioritization process and other aspects of the ADA Transition Plan online and at upcoming public meetings in each of its six Highway Districts:
- Tuesday, October 24, 3:30 p.m. in Boston at the Multi-Cultural ILC of Boston 329 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain
- Thursday, October 26, 4:30 p.m. in East Bridgewater at the Independence Associates 100 Laurel Street, Suite 122
- Monday, October 30, 11 a.m. in Pittsfield at AdLib, Inc. 215 North Street
- Monday, October 30, 3 p.m. in Springfield at Stavros Center for Independent Living 227 Berkshire Avenue
- Thursday, November 2, 3 p.m. in Lawrence at the Conference Room A&B, Northeast ILP, Inc. 20 Ballard Road
- Monday, November 6, 3 p.m. in Worcester at the Saxe Room, Worcester Public Library 3 Salem Street
MassDOT seeks to remediate the 200 highest-priority curb cuts in each Highway District over the course of the next five years, and to complete the effort to remediate some 6,300 curb cuts by 2032 through resources under MassDOT’s ongoing Capital Investment Plan. MassDOT has also used federal highway funding in support of this work, and will continue to seek federal resources to support this important project.
MassDOT has also found that because most state-owned rights of way are highways rather than local roads, the agency does not have jurisdiction over the most heavily trafficked roads and sidewalks in town centers; these curb ramps are the responsibility of municipal governments, which also have Title II ADA compliance obligations.
As such, MassDOT makes available for adoption its policies and procedures related to the right of way, provides a training course for municipalities on transition planning and offers special programs to improve accessibility through its Safe Routes to Schools and Complete Streets programs.
At the Commonwealth level, cities and towns that commit to meeting ADA obligations can sign onto the Community Compact on Public Accessibility Best Practices that will in part establish priority access to ADA compliance grants from the Massachusetts Office of Disability.
For further information, or to submit a comment on the ADA Transition Plan, visit the MassDOT Office of Diversity and Civil Rights ADA webpage at the following link: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/OfficeofCivilRights/ADA.aspx