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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ramping up (down?) in Columbia

     One of President George H. W. Bush's major achievements was the passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.  This act was seen as an expansion civil rights to the disabled population.  This type of civil right has become more controversial recently with the more conservative Congress as was seen with the Senate failure to approve the United Nations treaty that was modeled after the US legislation.

     In Howard County we are now seeing some result of Disabilities Act. The first is the current installation of new curb cuts around our town.  The curb cut shown above is on Homespun Road but the process is also occurring all over town.  I recently saw the work taking place on West Running Brook Drive. These curb cuts are being installed to meet the requirements of the ADA.  These requirements are:
- A landing must be provided at the top of ramp with slope that does not exceed 2% in any direction.
- The cross slope must not exceed 2%.
- The longitudinal slope must not exceed 1:12.
- The curb flare must not exceed 1:10.
- There shall be no than a ½” lip where the ramp meets the road/gutter.
- The ramp shall have a detectable warning surface that spans the full width of the ramp.

  These curb cuts are also a great addition if you are pushing a stroller or riding a bike across a road between bike path sections.  No more need to get off your bike to get over the curb.

   The second is the installation of the audio beepers for the visually handicapped at major intersections with heavy traffic like at Tamar and 175 and Vantage Road and 175.  The addition of countdown clocks at these intersections to let you know how long you have to clear the intersection are helpful too.

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