Ash Street closes to make repairs under the Americans with Disabilities Act
COLUMBIA – The intersection of Ash Street and Providence Road was shut down for construction on Tuesday.
The goal is to meet regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which includes “making improvements to pedestrian signal systems, replacing sections of sidewalk, adding new curb ramps and creating new portions of driveways,” according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Christina Ingoglia, vice president of Missouri Disability Empowerment, said it is an important step forward.
“I think, personally, and as the MoDE vice president, I would say that we’re ecstatic that the ADA requirements are now being met," she said. "Everyone deserves the right to access your house of worship, your local government, if you want to go to a local business.”
The changes are based on the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, which state sidewalks must be 5 feet wide. Most in Columbia are only 4 feet, according to MoDOT resident engineer Aaron Peck. He said the standards also call for less than a 2 percent slope, which is “far less” than some Columbia sidewalks.
“Frankly, a lot of the ADA regulations don’t do enough," Ingoglia said. "We are very thankful they exist, it’s a very important law for people with disabilities, and accessibilities in general. But we’re often looking at pushing the standards forward."
While Missouri Disability Empowerment has not directly influenced the changes throughout the town, the group does support the project immensely.
“We are very aware, as an organization, that access to physical space is really important to all different types of people, and so that is something that is on our minds,” Ingoglia said.
She said the issue hits especially close to home for her.
“My daughter, who is four, has disabilities and will likely need to use public transportation. She’ll need to use her walker to walk around for a while. So, because the sidewalks and infrastructure aren’t that great, we’re particularly aware for her future,” she said.
Peck said MoDOT hopes to have Ash Street reopened by Friday. Crews will then move to the south down Providence, as well as working on College Avenue once MU's semester closes next week.