Posted by: gravessack | September 5, 2011

Accessible Minneapolis: Improving Sidewalks

It’s been a while since I posted as I recently started my first semester at Minneapolis Community & Technical College. I may be writing less frequently for a while due to the huge course load. But I’m ALIVE! Now to the post.

Last month, I noticed city workers replacing sidewalks and curb cuts around South Minneapolis. On August 21, I interviewed Mike Kennedy, from Public Works, to find out what was going on.

These sidewalk repairs are being done as part of Minneapolis’s annual and continuous sidewalk repair program. The sidewalk repair program works in different parts of the city each summer on a minimum 10-year rotation. Minneapolis is remodeling side walks and curb cuts to adhere to the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the City of Minneapolis website, sidewalk inspectors look for damage on sidewalks that could impede wheelchair users or other disabled patrons. They are also looking for breaks and uneven sidewalks.

Also, during this project city workers are replacing outdated curb cuts with spiffy new ones. These new curb cuts are much smoother and the cut out is much wider to provide better access to wheelchairs. They also have drains for water. Eventually all curb cuts will comply with these modern ADA standards. A good example of a new curb cut can be found on the corner of 54th Street and 12th Avenue South in Minneapolis.

When I asked Kennedy about future modifications to sidewalks, he reassured me that this was an ongoing project and that the goals of this project are to ensure safe passage for pedestrians on sidewalks in Minneapolis and to comply with the changing standards of the ADA. This sidewalk project will be diverted in September to focus on fixing damage from the May 23 North Minneapolis tornado.

I will have to give the city of Minneapolis two thumbs up for creating this much-needed sidewalk repair program. Some city sidewalks have horrendous bumps that can cause damage, malfunction or dangerous situations to wheelchairs (especially to older ones like mine). I look forward to seeing the Twin Cities area free of bumps on sidewalks and with safe, nifty curb cuts on each corner!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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Responses

  1. Mike,
    Hope your classes are going well. What are you taking?

    Great article and good news about the improvements!
    Amy


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