Denver 'ramps up' ADA compliant curb ramp construction

City spending $15 million in 2017 for 3,000 ramps
Posted at 12:29 AM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 02:29:41-04

DENVER -- Drivers traveling through parts of Wash Park West and seven other neighborhoods have noticed a great deal of curb ramp construction this summer.

The city is spending $15 million this year, to build ADA compliant pedestrian ramps at intersections that don't have them, or to upgrade ramps that don't meet current standards.

"We've had a pedestrian ramp program in place since 2011," said Heather Burke, of the Department of Public Works. "We ramped it up in 2015."

She said the city spent $10 million in 2015, and the same amount in 2016, and is spending considerably more in 2017.

She said work crews try to upgrade ramps before they repair or repave streets.

"We're trying to stay one step ahead of street maintenance," she said.

"I'm happy to see it," said homeowner Bill O'Meara, who lives in Wash Park West.

"There's a three-inch lip here," he said, pointing to a section of flagstone curb on the southwest corner of Center and South Pearl. "Anyone walking into the street could easily stumble over it, especially during the evening."

In addition to Wash Park West, Denver Public Works is doing similar curb ramp work in Southmoor Park, Athmar Park, Cole, Elyria, Swansea, Globeville and the Central Business District.

Burke said that by the end of the year, the city will have constructed 14,000 ramps since 2011.

Sidewalk Repair

The curb work is separate from the newly announced sidewalk repair program that the Mayor Michael Hancock talked about while unveiling his 2018 budget proposal on Tuesday.

Hancock said he wants to spend $4.5 million to address deteriorating sidewalk infrastructure citywide, ensuring a well-maintained, well-connected network for walking, that is implemented as affordably as possible.

The mayor said the program would include a "revolving account" to provide assistance to homeowners who cannot afford the full cost of repairs.  It would essentially "advance" the cost of sidewalk repairs for qualified residents.

"I think that's fantastic," said Seneca Simons, a young mother pushing her child in a stroller on Capitol Hill. "It's a bumpy ride."

Simons told Denver7 that she does a lot of walking and uses an older stroller, to save wear and tear on her newer one.

"I've noticed all the craggy nooks and crannies everywhere," she said.  "I've tripped a few times, and crossing the street can be kind of scary because there are potholes."

The mayor said he wants to make it easier, more convenient, and safer, for people to get around Denver on foot and on bikes.