NMDC, MDOT to undertake inventory of curb ramps for disabled in Aroostook

6 years ago

CARIBOU, Maine — A Caribou based economic development group will soon undertake an effort to ensure that disabled Aroostook County residents have equal access to all parts of their communities.

The Northern Maine Development Commission will soon begin an Americans With Disabilities Curb Ramp inventory for the Maine Department of Transportation.

A curb ramp transforms a curb or sidewalk into a wheelchair accessible space to increase the individual’s mobility.

“We are going to start in the service center communities,” Jay Kamm, senior planner at NMDC, said of the project. “Then we plan to go to every town in Aroostook County as funds are available.”

Working with MDOT, NMDC will begin the inventory in Caribou, Kamm said Tuesday.

Surveyors will examine existing curb ramps for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act to help the MDOT determine how well they provide access to sidewalks and public facilities. The information also will allow the agency to decide where pedestrian infrastructure can be improved or ramps added.

The ADA requires that such an inventory be completed and a list of compliant and deficient ramps be maintained. From this inventory, the DOT will prioritize projects based on access, use, and proximity to public facilities.

Data collection will continue throughout the summer.

Kamm said that inventories only will be conducted along roads maintained by the MDOT using GPS and data collectors. According to MDOT officials, there are thousands of curb ramps located throughout the state and most are not 100 percent compliant.

Staff will be looking at a number of criteria, including the slope and width of ramps, how level the landing areas are and whether ramps are even present.

Kamm said Tuesday that thus far, he has not heard of any curb ramp difficulties in The County.

He said that he expects the inventory to begin “fairly soon.”