Ada County Highway District approves plan to expand accessibility

Posted at 1:51 PM, Dec 02, 2021

ADA COUNTY, Idaho — The Ada County Highway District (ACHD) is taking steps to be more accessible.

The ACHD Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to approve an ADA Compliance Audit that they hired a consultant to perform. ACHD has been working on this effort to expand accessibility since 2019.

The consultant from MIG presented its report on the audit to the commission Wednesday. The report outlines recommendations on how to better implement ADA requirements and the Public Rights-Of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (POWAG).

These are federal guidelines on accessibility that go beyond the American Disabilities Act requirements.

Based on communications with the federal government, ACHD thinks POWAG may become a requirement in 2022, which is one of the reasons they're working to implement this now.

Next steps include working with the consultant over the next year to implement the report recommendations. One change the public might notice will be around construction sites.

"You'll see more barricades going around and creating a dedicated and protected pathway for both the public and bicyclists," Steve Price, General Counsel for ACHD said.

An ADA access coordinator at BSU, Mike Gibson says accessibility in construction areas is a safety consideration too.

"I have come very close to being hurt badly in a construction area because all they have done is put up that white, plasticky crime scene type tape," he said.

The report also makes recommendations to ensure pedestrian access to bus stops...

ACHD works with Valley Regional Transit on things like bus stops.

VRT said accessibility around bus stops is important.

"A lot of our riders have to use the bus--rely on the bus system--because of some disability that they have," Mark Carnopis with VRT said.

The report addresses accessibility in all areas ACHD is responsible for. Gibson said this will make things easier for not just people who are disabled, but everyone.

"It really does improve the quality of life for the entire community when we are building for more of a universal design perspective," he said.