Plans for First Avenue North refined

Sections of sidewalk that bump out into the roadway at intersections can’t be bumped out of a plan for rebuilding First Avenue North this year because of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Fort Dodge City Council members learned Monday night.

”If we removed the bump-outs completely, making the ADA compliancy work would be nearly impossible,” Derick Anderson, of McClure Engineering Co. in Fort Dodge told the council.

He recommended keeping the bump-outs at all intersections, but added that some proposed for places in the middle of a block have been removed from the plans.

McClure Engineering Co. is working on the plans for the roughly $3 million reconstruction of First Avenue North between Third and Seventh streets. The job will include total reconstruction of the pavement, sidewalk replacement and the installation of new water mains, sanitary sewers and storm drains.

Anderson said construction is expected to start in June and be done by the end of the year.

A series of bump-outs were proposed as part of the sidewalk reconstruction. They would be similar to the protruding sections of sidewalk found at intersections along Central Avenue downtown.

Councilman Don Wilson said bump-outs aren’t popular with the public.

Councilman Kim Alstott said they make snow removal more difficult.

But according to Anderson, they’re necessary to comply with the federal mandate.

He said the Americans with Disabilities Act requires sidewalks at intersections to have a gentle slope so that someone who uses a wheelchair can easily roll up and down them. He added that the law also requires a flat spot at the top of the slope so that a wheelchair can be safely turned to head down the sidewalk.

Anderson said without the bump-outs, there’s not enough space to create the required slope and flat spot.

Although a federal mandate is driving the need for the bump-outs, Anderson said he’s not aware of any federal money to pay for them.

Councilman Robert ”Barney” Patterson suggested eliminating one on-street parking space at each side of an intersection in order to reduce how much each bump-out protrudes into the road.

Public Works Director Greg Koch said snow removal can be done around bump-outs with the proper equipment.

”I’m not concerned with the bump-outs and snow maintenance,” he said. ”I know we can do the job.”

After the project is completed, the traffic light at First Avenue North and Seventh Street will be removed, according to Anderson. He said stop signs will be placed on Seventh Street to control traffic there.

City Manager David Fierke said when the project is completed he will recommend that First Avenue North be converted to two-way traffic. It is now a two-way street between Third and Seventh streets. Between Seventh and 12th streets it is a one-way street with all traffic heading east.