On February 6, 2012, members of the Community Access Project and other disability rights colleagues went before the State Architectural Access Board again (the previous hearing was October 17, 2011) to discuss the City of Somerville’s Variance Application requesting permission to fix the City’s construction mistakes a drip at a time (15 per year, at an allotment of $100,000 of Somerville’s Chapter 90 funding per year).
As the Disability Policy Consortium pointed out: at that rate, it will take 30 – 40 years- just to fix the mistakes made since 2004! (“mistakes,” means: construction did not even minimally adhere to Federal and State code.)
The City staff provided survey measurement photos at this Hearing; these showed that the staff designated to survey these access complaints don’t understand some important issues named in the complaints. For example, an 11.8% cross slope on a newly constructed curb cut ramp at Benton & Westwood was not surveyed; the photos documented City staff measuring the landing element instead. (Per both State and Federal requirements, cross slopes on all pedestrian facilities should not exceed 2%. Since the landing clocked in with a 4.4% cross slope, the City did acknowledge that this location requires a re-do.)
The City has been paying an outside design consultant to help city staff respond to these complaints since at least October 2011.
We wonder if these construction standards would have been ignored if the City ‘s Chief Elected Official ever had to resort to using the motorist’s streets, just to arrive at, and use, Somerville’s municipal facilities, programs, services and events. (above photo was edited to substitute the Mayor’s face instead; no other parts of photo were changed)
Below, two examples of what the City wants to defer fixing until 2014 -2015 construction season (Click the location links to read the Public safety code violations):
above: newly constructed sidewalks in front of Head Start facility, Allen St. 9.8% cross-slope.
above: Washington St. @ Washington Terrace, opposite Public Safety Building and adjacent to MBTA stop. 7.5% cross-slope.
Below, two examples of what the City wants to defer fixing until the 2015-2016 construction season to fix. (Click the location links to read the Public safety code violations):
above: Bonner Ave./Homer St. (Union Square P.O. located one block to the left)