Walkability Study

Two pedestrians walk along North Railroad Avenue, one of a number of roadways in the city that narrow to a two-lane street with no sidewalks, on June 27, 2018 during an audit of the city’s streets that summer organized by City Planner Alison Gillette and officials from the state Department of Health, the National Parks Service and the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center.

   The ADA Transition Plan to make parts of the city of Española more accessible to elderly and disabled people is officially underway.

    City officials awarded the $39,241 contract to Mile High Accessibility Consultants out of Colorado Springs on May 28.

    City Planner Alison Gillette spent a day with the Consultant Group walking through city buildings and assisting with the evaluation. The evaluation was done July 20 through July 24.

    She said Mile High Accessibility Consultants took measurements of ramps, slopes, doorways, bathrooms, exits and grab bars. They look at doorway widths and heights that can accommodate people with disabilities. They look at the pressure of how doors open and close. She said doors have to open at a certain pressure. They looked at doors with automatic openers.

    The scope of work for the project includes 34 miles of city streets, four parks and two dozen city-owned properties including the Plaza de Española, the city hall complex, the Lucero Center and library, the Española Senior Center, the Police Department, the Municipal Court as well as numerous emergency services, public works and maintenance facilities.

    The consultants plan to return at the end of August to access sidewalks, ramps, curbs and parking lots and parking spaces. The complete report with their findings should be done by October. The plan will have what the city needs to do to bring the city government into compliance with provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Gillette said after city officials receive the report, they will begin applying for funding.

    In order for the city to apply for highway funding from the Federal Highway Authority and the New Mexico Department of Transportation, the community must be compliant with federal regulations and have an ADA plan.

    “This is something we are doing not only because it is the right thing to do but it will also open us up to apply for certain grants that we previously were not able to,” Gillette said.

    Gillette said this is the opportunity to remedy and rectify issues that need to be taken care of throughout the city.

    The city began the process in the fall of last year when the city government published a Request for Proposals to develop an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant Self-Assessment and Transition Plan. The Plan guides city officials in dealing with public rights-of-ways, programs, services, activities and public facilities as required by the ADA.

    “Anybody hoping to apply for any type of federal funding, has to have an ADA transition plan,” North Central New Mexico Economic Development District Community Development Director Lesah Sedillo said.

    “Despite the fact that the ADA has been around literally for decades, communities across the country are still struggling with this.” Planning Director Richard Hubler said.

    The project is also addressing concerns that do have some ADA components from the city’s first-ever Walkability Audit in June 2018 that showed many narrow or incomplete sidewalks, missing crosswalks and either faded or nonexistent bike lanes.

    The audit was conducted by officials from the New Mexico Department of Health, the National Parks Service and the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center.

    If you need to file a complaint, you can email at ADA.complaint@usdoj.gov or if you have questions about filing an ADA complaint, call the ADA information line at 1-800-514-0301.

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