Public Right-of-Way and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Association of Construction and Development
July 10, 2013 — 1,584 views  

Pavements, zebra crossings, sidewalks, and other public right of way ensure the safety of citizens of the country. Following them is as essential as vehicles following traffic rules. People on and off the road should work together in accordance with each other so that there may be safety on the streets.

Guidelines Incorporating Needs of the Differently Abled

While many guidelines may be obvious to us, we forget that there are citizens who are differently abled, and need specific guidance. New guidelines are being developed by the board, which address issues such as pedestrian crossings for the visually impaired, parking with wheelchair access, and slope or terrain differences.

Amendments and Guidelines

These new developing guidelines include the access to pedestrians to newly and strategically placed crosswalks, furnishing such as benches and shaded areas, as well as curb ramps. Signals for pedestrian crossings are a must, which are guided by a red and green symbol as well as a sound during the green symbol so that it makes crossing the road easier for blind people. On the 26th of July, 2011, the previous guidelines were released by the board. The board accepts public feedback and tries to work on new issues to the best of their ability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a law that was enforced by the Congress in the year 1990. The ADA is a bill that was made by Senator Tom Harkin, who was also the chief sponsor for the bill in the Senate. Some part of the speech he made prior to the Act was in sign language, to enable his deaf brother to understand. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The law was amended much later, and the changes were fully effective on the 1st of January, 2009.

Defining Disability

The ADA is a civil rights law, which says it is illegal to discriminate people who are differently abled in any way. In fact, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes discrimination based on sex, religion, race, nationality, and some other characteristics punishable by law. Disability is defined as an impairment, either physical or mental, that negatively affects a significant activity of an individual. Calling someone disabled is no longer the norm. “Disabled”, as a word has a negative connotation to it, which causes stigmatization and alienation. To avoid such behavior, the term “differently abled” is now used.

Incorporating Disability into Road Plans

The government as well as engineers working for the government should incorporate the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act in order to pave the way for an easier commute for the differently abled citizens of the country. Public right of way is important for the general lifestyle of citizens, and it ensures the ability to commute safely between short distances. This is even more so for those who have some physical or mental impairment, disallowing them from performing general tasks like others can perform.

Association of Construction and Development