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City to Comply with Unfunded Mandate for People with Disabilities

The Oakdale city council is required by an unfunded mandate to identify and eventually make all city sidewalks, trails and signal systems more accessible to people with disabilities.

The Oakdale city council approved a measure Tuesday night that requires the city to make public Rights of Way more accessible for people with disabilities. 

These public rights of way include sidewalks, trails and signal systems. 

The city won't be making changes to these public rights of way quite yet. First the city needs to develop a transition plan and identify all areas in the city that do not comply with federal and state requirements. 

This is an unfunded mandate. It stems from the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was enacted in congress in the 1990's, said Brian Bachmeier, the city engineer.

The city recommended a four-part process for the city while it initiates a transition plan to get the city up to code. 

The process includes:

  • Completing an inventory of non-conforming rights of way.
  • Public review and comment period on the transition plan.
  • Adopting the transition plan.
  • Implementing the transition plan in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). 

City staff will work on a transition plan while an outside consultant will identify all the rights of way that do not comply with the ADA. The consultant will be paid out of the Engineering Division Consulting Services Operating Budget.

"There is a time element and expertise," Bachmeier said regarding hiring a consultant as opposed to having city staff conduct the inventory. "They look at buttons in relation to the ramps and the width of the sidewalks. ... There will be measurements and determining the slope."  

Once the inventory is put together it will be included in the five-year CIP.

Bachmeier noted that the city will not have to complete the upgrades within five years. The city just needs to start the process of identifying what needs upgrading, Bachmeier said.

 

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