The City of Marysville is seeking public comment on its draft Americans with Disabilities Act transition plan, a document that identifies accessibility issues in its right of way.(Ben Watanabe / Herald file)

The City of Marysville is seeking public comment on its draft Americans with Disabilities Act transition plan, a document that identifies accessibility issues in its right of way.(Ben Watanabe / Herald file)

Where does Marysville need to improve accessibility?

The city’s draft ADA Transition Plan identifies hundreds of deficient locations. Comment ends soon.

Hundreds of locations need accessible curb ramps and hundreds of miles need sidewalks in Marysville, according to a city document outlining public right of way barriers.

Marysville’s draft ADA Transition Plan is in the final days of public comment, which ends Tuesday. The document is an inventory of what the city has (crosswalk push signal, curb ramps, parking, sidewalks) and offers that accommodate people with disabilities.

The plan preserves the city’s eligibility for federal funding to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, a civil rights law that requires government to be accessible to people. The document also will guide future budgets and work to remove physical barriers around Marysville, such as broken or missing curb ramps and filling in sidewalks. It basically assesses what the city has and what it needs for accessibility.

John Dineen, a Snohomish County ADAPROW Committee member, described the ADA legislation as an attempt to make life equivalent for people with disabilities, which may require changes for others.

“It’s easy to think of people with disabilities as ‘those guys, but not me,’” Dineen said for a March story about the city starting its ADA transition plan work. “But in fact, if you look at an aging population in Marysville as we all get older, that goes away.”

More than 10,500 people in the Marysville School District boundaries were 65 years and older, according to the U.S. Census American Communities Survey in 2018. Across the total population in that area, 8.9% had a walking disability, 5.7% an independent living difficulty, 5.2% a cognitive issue, 3.8% had a hearing disability, and 2.7% a vision difficulty.

Doing all of the transition plan’s work is beyond the city’s budget, but with a list of where the city’s accessibility needs are, coupled with public input about which ones are most urgent, the city can prioritize spending on the most needed and urgent locations.

“We haven’t shown anything new in terms of how we’re funding addressing these barriers,” city engineer Jeff Laycock said.

An evaluation of the city’s right of way counted 4,120 total curb ramp locations, including places without any but where they are required. Of those, 1,908 were functional but didn’t meet the latest ADA standard, 1,029 locations were missing curb ramps, and 693 were fully non-compliant.

“I was surprised we have a number of current, standard ramps with the progress we’ve made as a city,” Laycock said. “It’s still a large dollar amount when you consider the number of ramps that are non-compliant.”

A consulting firm, Transportation Solutions Inc., contracted by the city found Marysville had 166.8 miles of missing sidewalks or sidewalks that weren’t compliant with modern ADA standards.

Some of the consultants’ recommendations: use public input to prioritize removing curb ramp barriers at missing and non-compliant locations before doing so at non-compliant but functional locations; expand the city’s sidewalk network with planned Capital Facility Program projects; track accessible pedestrian signals better in the city’s geographic information system and develop a capital improvement program for upgrading signals that need to be ADA compliant with public input spotting high priority locations; and create an inventory of city on-street marked or metered stalls per block perimeter, identify if they are ADA accessible, determine the number of deficient accessible parking stalls and develop a schedule to add necessary accessible stalls.

Without new funding for accessibility work (usually paid for as part of pavement preservation, transportation benefit district funds and the capital improvement program), the city plans to upgrade spots when it has projects in or near an identified barrier location.

Accessibility benefits more people than just those using guide animals, walkers or wheelchairs.

“It’s going to be equally beneficial to the dad pushing the stroller with the 1-year-old in it as it is to the 73-year-old with a knee replacement,” Dineen said.

The ADA transition plan is likely to go before the Marysville City Council in December, but the 2021 budget is already set.

Share your thoughts

Comments about the city’s accessibility needs and its draft ADA transition plan can be sent by Tuesday to Marysville city engineer Jeff Laycock at jlaycock@marysvillewa.gov or 360-363-8100.

Have a question? Email streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your first and last name and city of residence.

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