Friday, January 06, 2012

DRPA Rebuilding Camden 5th Street Tunnel Without ADA Ramps

As we have reported before, the 5th Street tunnel in Camden has been indefinitely closed for construction since the summer. The construction includes a new sidewalk adjacent to the tunnel and it was hoped that the DRPA would make the tunnel wheelchair accessible. A glance at the progress from the North Walkway entrance shows no ramp access to the tunnel and no curb cuts in the new sidewalks.

A high curb and no curb cuts to facilitate wheelchair access.

A curb more friendly to skateboarders than bicyclists.
For bicyclists who need to access the north walkway, the low and somewhat mountable curb has been replaced a high uncut curb, forcing people to lift their wheeled conveyances to access the tunnel or the walkway stair tower.

A long staircase to haul any kind of wheeled contrivance
It's unclear if the DRPA is required to put in an accessible facility at this location. However, language (quoted in italics below) in this statement from the Public Rights of Way Design Guide suggests that unless they were granted a design exception from the the responsible government officials (NJ DOT? FHWA?) they might just have to.

"The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that new and altered public sidewalks and street crossings be accessible so that people with disabilities can use the pedestrian routes that connect buildings, facilities, and transportation modes."


Steve Stofka said...

I smell lawsuit.

Andrew J. Besold said...

You're being way too easy on the DRPA saying that it is "unclear if the DRPA is require to put in an accessible facility at this location." Of course they are and they are AGAIN flagrantly in violation of ADA requirements!

It's been a while since I've been near the tunnel but if memory serves me correctly, the closest alternative would require wheelchair users to go about 1/2 mile out of their way!

There is no excuse. It seems clear from the photo that it would have been very easy for DRPA engineers to have included an ADA compliant ramp and curb cuts at the tunnel entrance.

I thinks its time to contact a lawyer.