By Michael Heins
City planners met Monday to discuss the problems of constructing sidewalk handicap curbs in downtown Havre to meet the American Disability Acts standards (ADA).
Local and state governments are required to install curb cuts in intersections according to the American Disabilities Act.
The committee discussed some of the problems that they will encounter with the design, such as location of storm drains, public right-of-way and the problem of conformity in design. The idea came up to make all sidewalks in the downtown have the same design.
"The city should pass an ordinance that would make sidewalk design uniform," said Gary Schaub, of the Public Works Department.
Some of the members agreed, but some said they felt that any such ordinance should have some flexibility.
They also went over various sidewalk intersections and discussed some of the structural design problems.
"Certain design problems can be a hazard to handicapped or blind people," Schaub said. "The problem with designing ADA walkways intersections is you have to keep an open mind for anyone that has a handicap. The ADA curb cuts have been roughed up so that a blind person will know where they are and to reduce slippage in the winter."
The city needs to plan these ADA sidewalk intersections for the future, Schaub said.
"We need to design something we don't have to redesign later," he said.
The city has to comply with the ADA regulations and with a cost of $5,000 per intersection the price won't be cheap.
"We can only use the urban development money for the urban route anything else will have to come from a different source," said Ron Bastin, Public Works director.
The committee members agreed that they will have to redo ADA intersection that do not meet current standards.
"It will be three years before any shovels are turned for these projects because of the process we have to follow with the Montana Department of Transportation," said Anne Marie Robinson, of Bear Paw Development Corporation.
A motion was passed for this to go to the next city council meeting.