This project combines the City’s program of bringing sidewalk ramps into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the millage-funded, Sidewalk Repair Program.
Construction for 2017 has
concluded. The 2018 ramp and sidewalk repair program will begin in
spring, and will continue into the fall in the 2018 areas highlighted on
Sidewalk Repair Program
In November of 2011, voters approved a millage for the purpose of repairing sidewalks in the public right-of-way. Prior to the passage of this millage, property owners were required to repair or replace deficient sidewalks that adjoined their property. Over the five years of the millage, the City has inspected, and contractors have repaired sidewalks throughout the entire City.
In November 2016, voters passed the Street, Bridge, and Sidewalk Millage, which effectively allows the City to continue making sidewalk repairs. Beginning in 2017, the City will return to work in the neighborhoods where sidewalks were previously repaired in 2012.
What repairs will be made as part of this program
The repairs to be made through this program will focus on removing any hindrances to the mobility of users. These repairs will focus primarily on:
- Sidewalks that are displaced more than ½ inch.
- Areas of severe water ponding/icing.
- Slabs that have settled or been lifted out of place enough to cause a serious hindrance to mobility.
The City's contractors use three different methods for repair: removing and replacing sidewalk slabs, horizontally cutting the sidewalk to remove vertical displacements (which will result in a "leveling out" of adjacent slabs that have been displaced) and sidewalk lifting (mud jacking).
What sidewalks Qualify for the Program
Sidewalks within the public right-of-way adjoining properties that are on the tax roll will be included in the program, and the necessary repairs will be made by the City at no additional cost to the property owners.
Sidewalks adjoining properties that are not on the City tax roll (such as schools, universities, churches, etc.) will still be responsible for repairing the sidewalks adjacent to their property. These sidewalks will be inspected along with the rest of the sidewalk in the area, and a letter will be sent to the property owners informing them of the need to repair the sidewalk.
Sidewalks on private property or adjacent to private streets are not included in this program.
In advance of construction in your area, City staff will inspect and mark sidewalks for repair. At that time, if there are any repairs to be made in front of your property, a door hanger will be left at your house. This will provide more information about the work to be done and contact information if you have further questions.
The work will typically last only a few days on any given street, and will usually have relatively minimal impact on homeowners. The contractor will likely have to install temporary No Parking signs on the street where they are working so that they are able access their work areas. Garbage, recycling, and compost pickup, as well as utility services and mail delivery will be maintained throughout the project.
Driveways will typically remain available for use unless the needed repairs happen to be in line with the driveway itself. If this is the case, a notice will be left at your house in advance of the work.
Pedestrian access will be maintained during the project, although detours may occasionally be posted.
Curb Ramp Replacement Program
What is a Curb Ramp?
A curb ramp is the section of concrete, typically on a slope, that connects the sidewalk to the roadway and provides pedestrians a location to cross the street. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has multiple requirements for these ramps, which the City is obligated to follow. Some of these requirements include maximum slopes on the ramps and the level landings (i.e. the "top" of the ramp), as well as the need to install detectable warning surfaces (the "dots" or "domes" installed at the bottom of the ramp) that act as a cue for visually impaired pedestrians.
Which Curb Ramps Are Part of This Program?
The ADA, which went into effect in 1992, requires that pedestrian facilities adjacent to any public project be brought into compliance with current ADA standards. This includes the curb ramps adjacent to any road reconstruction or resurfacing project that was performed from 1992 to the present. The City was working under a consent decree to retroactively bring all corner ramps into compliance on streets that were resurfaced or reconstructed between 1992 and 2004 by the year 2018.
Nearly all of the hundreds of curb ramps on the consent decree were brought into compliance, with very few exceptions allowed under the consent decree. Example of those are when the slope of the ramp would not meet ADA standards due to the current grade of the roadway and existing sidewalks, and a reconstruction of the roadway will be required to bring the ramp into compliance. Another example is found when the curb ramp doesn't align with a second curb ramp across the street due to existing trees or driveways. Engineering geometrics will have to be performed in order to complete the crosswalk, and in some cases the curb ramps are relocated farther down the street.
In the future, ramps will continue to be upgraded in conjunction with paving projects on the streets adjacent to ramps. Requests to upgrade or install other specific corner ramps can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to Expect During Construction
During construction, a City-hired contractor will remove and replace the designated curb ramps. This work will typically include removing some of the sidewalk adjacent to the ramp, as well as some curb and gutter and some of the pavement around the ramp. The pavement removal usually consists of a small strip that is removed and is later patched back upon completion of the ramp. Pavement patching will usually be done within a week of the ramp construction; in the meantime gravel will be left in front of the ramp to maintain a temporary walkable surface across the road.
In order to achieve the require grades for the curb ramps, we frequently have to significantly lower the level landings (the level landing is the slab of sidewalk at the top of the ramp, usually at the intersection of the sidewalk s). This often creates the need to build a retaining wall at the back of the sidewalk, or to do some additional grading so that there is not a drop-off from the adjacent yard to the sidewalk which would erode over time.
All disturbed areas will be restored and reseeded by the contractor and re-inspected after the project to make sure turf has established.
The Sidewalk Millage is for the repair and maintenance of existing sidewalks, not for the construction of sidewalks where none currently exist. Visit our new sidewalks page for information on how you can request construction of a new sidewalk.
If you have any questions, comments, or if you wish to report a potential sidewalk repair need, please contact:
Jane K. Allen, P.E.
301 E. Huron St., 4th Floor
Ann Arbor, MI