You may notice that ramps, sidewalks, street crossings, and intersections are being replaced around Coppell and they look different than before. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed by Congress in 1990 and amended in 2008, protects the civil rights of people with disabilities in everyday activities from employment and voting to parking and the use of public right-of-ways such as sidewalks, street crossings, or any other similar property owned by a city provided for public use. The City of Coppell is making these updates to comply with ADA requirements allowing people with disabilities to use public right-of-ways safely and without barriers.
Why Are These Updates Needed?
The most current accessibility laws are intentional standards that strive to include all pedestrians. Each piece of the specifications for ramps, crossings, and intersections applies an extra level of safety for everyone crossing the public right-of-way.
Running Slopes and Cross Slopes
A running slope is the measure of incline from the bottom of the ramp to the top of the ramp. The percentage of the running slope is set at 8.3 percent. A cross slope is the measure of incline from one side of the ramp to the other, and this percentage is set at 2 percent. These percentages are set so that someone with mobility challenges can safely navigate the changes in level that occur on a sidewalk or street crossing without struggling to pull or push themselves up or down.
The photo above depicts a ramp that has too steep of a slope.
Landings are the 5ft x 5ft flat spaces at the tops and bottoms of ramps. These spaces are required for two reasons: first, the landing is a resting place for those who are mobility challenged that have just traversed a ramp. Second, the landing is a flat space that allows someone to change direction.
The photo above depicts a curb ramp that does not have the required 5ft X 5ft flat landing at the top or bottom. Once this pedestrian reaches the top of the ramp, they will not be able to rest or safely change directions.
Directional curbs provide guidelines for vision impaired and mobility challenged individuals to safely traverse from one side of an intersection to the other. They are designed to prevent individuals from traversing into the center of an intersection by guiding them directly to the receiving ramp on the other side of the street.
|The photo above shows a pedestrian using a walking cane to maneuver and traverse safely in the public right-of-way. Without curbs guiding a pedestrian who has low vision or cannot see, they could traverse into an unsafe portion of an intersection without any traffic protection from cars.||The photo above shows two directional ramps placed at 90 degree angles so that pedestrians can use the directional curbs on either side to guide them safely across the street.|
Truncated domes are tactile notifications at the edges of a crossing that let vision impaired pedestrians know that they are about to cross a vehicular way.
|The photo above shows an island with a three-way crossing that has truncated domes installed correctly so that the pedestrian can feel the difference in the terrain and know that they are crossing a vehicular way.||The photo above shows a street corner with no ramps and no truncated domes. Pedestrians with mobility challenges using this corner would not be able to safely transition from the sidewalk to the street. Those who are blind or have vision impairments would not be notified that they were about to cross a vehicular way.|
Street crossings are the nearly flat surface, which allows a pedestrian to cross from one side of the street to the other while providing a safe travel surface for mobility and vision impaired users. The running slope (side to side) of a street crossing is 2 percent.
|The photo above shows a 2 percent running slope on a street crossing which allows all pedestrians, no matter the challenges they may have, to traverse across the street safely.||The photo below shows a street corner where the street itself has lots of tripping hazards and is not at a slope of 2 percent making it very difficult for those with vision impairments or mobility challenges to traverse across. Also, the ramp at this street corner has the required truncated domes, but is sending someone into the center of the intersection instead of safely to the other side at a 90 degree angle.|
These are the parts of the public right-of-way that are included in the design and construction:
- Ramps – including landings and slopes
- Street crossings
- Radius of the corner
- Pedestrian push buttons
- Stop signs
The public right-of-way is usually from the back of the sidewalk out into the street, but it varies by neighborhood. The public right-of-way is the portion of the street that is owned by the city. Coppell must use these measurements to decide what reconstruction will fit in each area (work outside of the public right-of-way requires acquisition of an easement). These varied public right-of-way measurements may cause the corners, ramps, and intersections to look different all around the City.
There are many variables that affect what kind of ramp/intersection is designed. These are just a few of those variables in existing construction projects:
- Available Coppell right-of-way
- Elevation of the front yard/adjacent private area
- Street drainage
- Stop signs
- Traffic devices
- Fire hydrants
- Storm drains
- Light poles
- Presence of a receiving ramp on the other side of the street
Small Construction Process
In smaller projects, where the design and construction can be completed in-house, the City will utilize its own staff.
- Coppell staff review the original plans for that area and confirm the public right-of-way measurements
- Coppell staff coordinate on-site to verify measurements and decisions based on the available public right-of-way
- Contractor is assigned to the project
- Contractor and Coppell staff meet onsite
- If actual construction plans are required, they are shared with everyone
- Coppell staff meet onsite to give the final inspection of the project to verify that it is ADA compliant
Large Construction Process
In large projects, where the existing public right-of-way needs to be designed and constructed, a consulting design civil engineer is utilized to help accomplish this.
- Engineer assigned
- Project registered with the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration (TDLR) to have a Registered Accessibility Specialist (RAS) review the project
- Construction plans reviewed by Coppell departments, engineer, and RAS
- Conduct neighborhood meetings for reconstruction
- Plans completed, approved, and stamped by City of Coppell engineer
- Coppell construction Inspectors and other Coppell departments assess project throughout
- Once construction is complete, final inspections are prepared and approved by Coppell and RAS
Before and After Updates
Parkway Blvd. and Heartz Rd.
The photo above shows Parkway Blvd. and Heartz Rd. before updates were made.
The photo above shows Parkway Blvd. and Heartz Rd. after updates were made.
Town Center Blvd. and Town Center Dr.
The photo above shows Town Center Blvd. and Town Center Dr. before updates were made.
Mapleleaf Ln. and Sugarberry Dr.
The photo above shows Mapleleaf Ln. and Sugarberry Dr. before updates were made.
The photo above shows Mapleleaf Ln. and Sugarberry Dr. after updates were made
If you have any questions, please email Kori Allen, ADA & Capital Programs Coordinator for the City of Coppell, or call 682-351-8991.