Wheelchair Ramp To Nowhere

Exercising forward planning and backward logic, Ada County Highway District has installed an ADA certified wheelchair ramp TO NOWHERE at the corner of Columbus and Targee.

The GUARDIAN didn’t even bother to file all the record requests to find out what it cost to install, but the concrete placing, excavation, and ramp component provides access to NOWHERE! If the installation could even be justified as a “future use,” it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to relocate utility poles and condemn private property for future sidewalks.

There are sidewalks on the opposite sides of both Targee and Columbus.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I encourage you to read the ADA Transition plan. It highlights priorities and details the who, what and why. Additionally ACHD has taken an inventory of all sidewalks and curb ramps to develop a schedule of priorities. Much of this is being done to stay in line with the Americans with Disability Act that was passed 30 years ago. It may not matter to you, but it does to someone else who has disabilities

    Check your email for links.

    EDITOR NOTE–Clancy, I am generally an ADA advocate, but this location is truly a ramp to nowhere. The other three corners of this intersection have ramps and they also have sidewalks. When I shared this with an ACHD commish, they agreed with my take and even identified several similar locations. This is akin to the Braille on the drive up window at the bank.

  2. Ha, ACHD continues to waste taxpayer money in order to keep their pet projects and justify their annual budget. Now do an article on the new wheelchair ramp at Cassia Street and Roosevelt. That intersection is an acute angle next to the canal system. They took an intersection that was already way too tight to turn north onto Roosevelt, without driving up on the curb or swinging wide into oncoming traffic and made it worse. Now they created a tighter turn because the put a bike path on the West side of the road and moved the center line closer to the acute corner and at the same time make the sidewalk popout to accommodate a wheelchair ramp. Now it is completely impossible to turn north onto Roosevelt without going up on the sidewalk. Even though I brought this to ACHD’s attention when they proposed it, they still went forward with the Ludacris idea.

  3. There’s “the LETTER of the law,” and “the SPIRIT of the law.”

    I’m totally sympathetic to the INTENT of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Disabled citizen access should be maximized. But it should be tempered with real-world priorities and realities in mind.

    It’s likely the taxpayers shelled out $20K for that Ramp to Nowhere.

    Another looming dilemma – the swimming pools at South Junior and Lowell Elementary Schools. I recently filled out an online survey form on “what should be done.” The City estimates it will cost $2.4 million (!!) per pool, to bring them into compliance. I haven’t seen the ADA expenses broken out, but it’s a safe bet that $2+ million is to install ADA elevators, ramps, etc. Those pools will probably end up being torn down… because either EVERYBODY gets access, or NOBODY gets access.

  4. And this is *exactly* why I hate rules. I fully support ADA and what it is trying to do–and action related to it is long overdue. That said, I fully agree with Frazier here: I can’t help but think this is (currently) wasted money because of the lack of connecting sidewalks. I would hope there was a corner that needed this work done more urgently than a corner with no connecting sidewalks. If there is not, maybe those funds need to be targeted to something else for now.

    TL;DR: exactly right by the letter, and totally wrong by the intent.

    As always, just my $.02.

  5. Concrete rules!

    Keeps the ACHD staff and cement contractors in business.

  6. First, how is these are “wheelchair ramps”?

    And the Note says, “I am generally an ADA advocate”.
    Or I am generally not an ADA advocate? Is there percentage to apply here?

    Beer commercial– “I don’t always advocate for the rights of others, but when I do, watch out!”

    EDITOR NOTE–Assuming you seek an answer to your friendly supportive question, here is the answer. I support ADA except when it is useless to all concerned. At the old post office on bank drive the interior door was 40 inches wide, but regs called for a 48 inch opening. They replaced the door with a set of doubles which were each 30 inches wide which made it impossible to allow wheelchair access on either side. (NOTE–numbers may not be exact, but the result was the same, narrower opening)

    PD we always appreciate your kind words of support.

  7. To be more clear, they are not wheelchair ramps. They are curb ramps. Also helpful for old people walking in the neighborhood. As for this one, it is one of many built for no immediate benefit. How did this one, all of a sudden, catch attention of the Editor. An artistic photographer could make a collage of such sidewalks and curbs. More disturbing is the mish-mash of those corners where contractors did the work halfas such as 3 of the 4 done, or 2 of the 4, or just 1 out of the intersection.

    EDITOR NOTE–This one was built in the past couple weeks. You are correct about the useless ramps abounding in many areas. Some are decades old and abut gravel or dirt barriers.

  8. Not to abuse the dead horse, but it was not built in the past couple weeks. It was re-built in the past couple weeks. I suppose that makes it even complexing. That intersection previously had the brown bump pads instead of yellow, and that corner was cracked cement. Ask the neigbors.

  9. Our concerns of property tax relief need to be directed towards our local public servants now. As budgets are under way. Our state public servants aren’t going to be able to do anything about waste at the city and county levels.
    Elected public servants that aren’t qualified and or don’t care are a BIG part of the uncontrolled growth in our state.

  10. This is the outrage example of why we don’t spend public money for the six lane bridge on a two lane road, saying “we will need it some day”. When the two lane bridge becomes inadequate, the criticism is “why didn’t you plan ahead and buy this with yesterday’s dollars. That intersection is now ready when necessary curb, gutter and sidewalk improvements come. Planning ahead? Fiscally prudent spending today’s tax money to save in the future?

  11. I considered this the other day while walking around my neighborhood: “What is a a Complete Neighborhood?”

    A complete neighborhood has all the sidewalks installed, the ramps are consistent and make sense; the traffic lights are consistent, in place and make sense; it has easy to understand traffic patterns; it has a local business section (Hyde, Cole Rd, etc), and it has the necessary amenities for the neighborhood (e.g. a park); it is connected to a bus route; it has a neighborhood association or several; it is centered around a school; etc.

    So, for example from each school within a 3 or 5 mile radius, each ‘hood is improved accordingly.
    At some point, the neighborhood becomes complete.

    As mentioned, reality is still necessary, but a model to operate from would be helpful. It doesn’t seem like any of our cities, or ACHD have any actual game plan.

    As seen above, we have that “questionable” neighborhood on the Bench, this photo is 1 block from an elementary school.

    That blue house was built in 1962. Sixty years and still no city sidewalk. I think that is “the issue” rather than a ramp to nowhere.

    Sure, that costs a lot of money, but so does building sidewalks along Banbury- and that was not a problem.

    Nooooooo sidewalks near a school is what I expect to see in Fairfield, not Boise.

  12. Jared, I have to disagree with your characterization of ACHD. On their web site it appears they have extensive plans for today and way into the future. They also seem able to re-prioritize as emergencies arise, demographics shift and times change. That house was built well before ACHD. I believe new policies and procedures require sidewalks as neighborhoods are developed.

  13. Yes…the ADA is the policy driver for this icon of transportation engineering.

    A catalog of the entire county was created and recommendations for ADA ramps were logged and ACHD has dutifully erected ramps wherever the pins got stuck to the map.

    In a big machine, the actions don’t have to make sense, they just have to be. The policy is being followed.

    Overall, the majority of ADA ramps are welcomed by everyone who uses independent wheeled transport to get around (scooters, bikes, skateboards, skates, etc.)

    I wish that perhaps the machine would exert some judgement on sites like this until a contiguous sidewalk plan unfolds, which doesn’t look likely at this locale. But hey….$$$ flow.

  14. I just work here…

  15. ACHD is worth their own comedy hour/ Most of ACHD direction comes from the mayor & city council plus the Bicycle Coalition with is where Councilperson Hallyburton was a member.
    Ask them a question regarding priorities and they take their direction not from the commissioners but from the different mentioned groups. We need a change of command at ACHD.
    Emails are a great way to communicate with them as they don’t even know what a declarative sentence is?? Nor will they answer your question.

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