Pedestrian facility updates
Pedestrian facilities including sidewalks and pedestrian ramps along sections of Smith Ave. and Dodd Rd./Hwy 149 are being updated to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The ADA is a civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities in public accommodations and ensures they have equitable access to pedestrian facilities. MnDOT has a policy to bring pedestrian facilities into compliance with the ADA, create system uniformity and enhance the pedestrian environment.
To meet ADA standards, a sidewalk should be at least four feet wide, although five feet is preferred. Five feet allows for two pedestrians to walk side-by-side or pass each other on the sidewalk. Per ADA requirements, a consistent five-foot width eliminates the need to provide passing space (five feet) at 200-foot intervals.
Alternating between four- and five-foot sidewalk widths to avoid tree roots would create usability concerns and is not ideal for those with disabilities. Additionally, the alternating may not be an effective strategy for avoiding damage to tree roots. Other ideas to weave around the sidewalk to avoid tree roots also are not ideal for those with disabilities. This strategy could create an unexpected and/or inconsistent path that could lead to a safety risk.
More specifically in regards to tree identified on the map, some planned pedestrian ramps require level "landings" at the bottom and top of each sloping ramp. These landing standards can likely compete with tree roots for space.
Please note that property owners in the project area are not being assessed for bringing the sidewalks into compliance with ADA standards.