Now, decades after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law, many suburbs are finally taking action to meet federal infrastructure standards to make streets, sidewalks and intersections easier for people with disabilities to use.
From Apple Valley to St. Louis Park, officials say they're drawing up "ADA transition plans" to ensure better accessibility for all. A more compelling factor, however, may be a veiled threat from federal and state authorities that cities won't be eligible to get federal funding for transportation projects until they develop a plan.
In the Twin Cities, the Metropolitan Council works with local officials and MnDOT to make those recommendations, said Kristine Elwood, MnDOT's deputy state aid engineer.
At the federal government's urging, the Met Council's transportation advisory board has stipulated that any city vying for this year's round of funding (for projects in 2022-23) must have a plan in place or in progress, said Nick Thompson, the council's transportation services director. Many types of projects, from road expansions to trail construction and bridge repairs, are eligible for funds, Erickson said.