Sidewalk meets all the standards

Looking at the construction on North Ross Lane, which was much needed, I am wondering why all of the new power poles are located in the center of the narrow sidewalks. Baby strollers and wheelchairs will have to move into the street.

— A. E., via email

While the space is tight, county officials made sure the sidewalk width met the standards set in the American Disabilities Act.

The new and somewhat narrow sidewalk is part of an ongoing $4 million to $6 million construction project on North Ross Lane between McAndrews Road and Highway 238 (commonly known as Rossanley Drive).

ADA requires engineers to leave a minimum of 3 feet of clearance on the sidewalk to allow people in wheelchairs to pass without needing to enter the street.

Typically, engineers would prefer at least 5 feet of clearance, but for this project, there was only space for a minimum of 31/2; feet of clearance on one side of the power poles, said John Vial, director of roads and parks for Jackson County. Houses were set so close to Ross Lane, there was no room for a wider walkway, he said.

"Many people like to park their vehicle in the driveway in front of the garage; and as we pushed the sidewalk closer to the homes, there was not enough depth to where people could park without their cars hanging out onto the sidewalk," said Vial.

"We would have preferred to put the poles on the back side of the sidewalk, but we would have had to purchase more right of way. But, in the end, we do meet ADA standards."

Regarding your second concern, strollers, which range in width from about 18 to 30 inches, also should fit with some leeway. Ross Lane will have a bike lane to accommodate mommies and daddies on the move.

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