Changes to handicap-accessible ramps in downtown Wilmington are part of U.S. 68 repaving project


WILMINGTON — Some have asked why a downtown Wilmington curb ramp for wheelchairs was eliminated, given that it’s the closest curb ramp to the public entrance of the Clinton County Courthouse.

In addition, the two handicap parking spaces adjacent to the former curb ramp will become public parking spaces. The changes are part of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Urban Repaving Project in which ODOT will repave a stretch of U.S. 68 in the city, according to the Wilmington Department of Public Service/Public Safety.

Tim Casto, P.E., with the Kleingers firm which is retained as the city engineer and did the design work, said during the design phase they started digging into requirements and how they fit with this downtown block.

Casto stated in an email that on-street parking space locations will be in accord with the proposed Public Rights of Way Accessibility Guidelines. “While these guidelines have not yet been adopted, it is generally understood that they will be adopted soon, and current best practice includes implementing the guidelines with new projects,” he wrote.

Complying with the on-street parking requirements, while keeping the two full-length parallel parking spaces and transitioning back with a wider roadway section, would mean two existing light poles would become obstacles, he said in a News Journal interview.

Further, there would be additional concrete work and curb work, and it becomes “a little bit bigger project in front of the courthouse” to be able to keep the two handicap parking spaces where they’re at, he added.

Those two spaces have in effect been relocated to the ends of the block, said Casto. Part of the project was improving Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access at the corners for the intersection of South Street (U.S. 68) and Sugartree Street, he said.

The curb ramp at the south end of the block, along with other such downtown ramps, have been enhanced in more ways than one to a modern standard, said the engineer.

The curb ramps at the ends of the block are unobstructed and thus allow a handicap-equipped van to do a side lift, Casto said.

Also, the new corner ramps at the South/Sugartree intersection will accommodate either a side or rear loading scenario, he said.

In the ODOT Urban Repaving Project this fall, ODOT will repave U.S. 68 from the city’s southern corporation limit to the intersection of Main and South Streets, and then continue again on Lorish and Lincoln to the corporation limit on State Route 134.

ODOT dictates the parameters of the project and approves the plans, stated a City email. It’s a multi-jurisdictional collaboration, and everything is done to ODOT requirements, according to the Wilmington Department of Public Service/Public Safety.

Approximately 50 percent of the total project will be paid for by ODOT.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
}
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
}
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
}
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;
}

This mid-block curb ramp in downtown Wilmington, facing the Clinton County Courthouse’s public entrance, has been replaced by full curb. However, improvements have been made to other downtown curb ramps.
http://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/09/web1_curb_p_f.jpgThis mid-block curb ramp in downtown Wilmington, facing the Clinton County Courthouse’s public entrance, has been replaced by full curb. However, improvements have been made to other downtown curb ramps.

Since this photograph was taken, construction work has been completed to improve the downtown curb ramp at the northwest corner of South and Sugartree Streets.
http://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/09/web1_drill_p_f.jpgSince this photograph was taken, construction work has been completed to improve the downtown curb ramp at the northwest corner of South and Sugartree Streets.

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com