The city of Sumner will soon begin construction on sidewalks and street corners to make the city more accessible for pedestrians and to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan.
Passed in 1990, the act requires cities to have a Transition Plan in place to identify physical barriers in paths of travel for pedestrians so that improvements can be made.
When Sumner city officials found out they didn’t have a Transition Plan in place, they took action.
“We’ve always been proud of our walkable city,” said Derek Berry, public works manager. “But we found out that we didn’t have transition plan in place. We thought we had one.”
Berry talked with the ADA coordinator for Tacoma and a few others cities about approaching the project. The problem areas were then identified with help from an advisory team. Members of the team included a school board member who works with disabled students and a board member at the senior center.
We have a list of the most complained about places. But you have to look to see what kind of problems you have. Are ramps not existing for sidewalks a huge issue, or is it a high priority to fix the cracks (on sidewalks)? It’s a big public involvement.
Derek Berry, public works manager for Sumner
Berry also heard about accessibility issues from the public.
“We have a list of the most complained about places,” Berry said. “But you have to look to see what kinds of problems you have. Are ramps not existing for sidewalks a huge issue, or is it a high priority to fix the cracks (on sidewalks)? It’s a big public involvement.”
Officials narrowed down their search to five intersections where construction will take place. With a $91,000 budget, all areas need ramps, with a few receiving sidewalk repairs.
“We have plans to do more,” said assistant engineer Andrew Leach, “but we’re doing as much as our budget allows right now.”
The project was awarded to the Propel Construction Company a few weeks ago, with hopes to get construction started in the next several weeks. Already, officials have painted the sidewalks that are to receive repairs.
The most pressing improvement will be the addition of ramps.
There shouldn’t be any road or lane closures. It will probably impact pedestrian traffic, but it shouldn’t impact any vehicle traffic.
Andrew Leach, assistant engineer for Sumner
Berry recounted one message from a local resident who said that no matter how good the sidewalks are, she can’t use them unless she has access to a ramp. The city gave the contractor about 30 working days to get the project done, said Leach, with about six days per intersection, more or less, depending on weather.
“There shouldn’t be any road or lane closures,” added Leach. “It will probably impact pedestrian traffic, but it shouldn’t impact any vehicle traffic.”
The intersections involved in the Transition Plan include:
▪ Thompson Street and Alder Avenue
▪ Thompson Street and Kincaid Avenue
▪ Thompson Street and Sumner Avenue
▪ Academy Street and Kincaid Avenue
▪ Maple Street and Bonney Avenue
The Transition Plan aims to improve the accessibility of its pedestrians of all ages and abilities and involves a multi-year schedule.
“I think it’ll be good that the plan is in place and that we make substantial improvements year after year,” Berry said. “This isn’t something you can fix in one year. These are major issues.”