For Immediate Release
Contact: Public Works: (415) 554-6926
July 13, 2010
CITY LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR CURB RAMP REQUESTS
CAMPAIGN COMES AMONGST HIGHEST CURB RAMP CONSTRUCTION EFFORT
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Mayor’s Office on Disability (MOD) launched a campaign to raise awareness and educate residents about how they can make requests for curb ramps. The campaign encourages residents with disabilities; especially people who use a wheelchair, scooter, or walker, to make curb ramp requests by calling the City’s customer service center at 3-1-1 or by going to www.sfdpw.org.
“Curb ramps are crucial for people with disabilities to travel to nearby bus stops, schools, or to their neighborhood store. This campaign will help the City prioritize the installation of curb ramps where they are needed the most,” said Mayor Newsom. "Through an infusion of funds from federal stimulus grants and through limited capital dollars, we have been able to increase the number of curb ramps citywide. Working with DPW and the Mayor's Office on Disability, we will continue to identify long-term funding sources for the ongoing installation of curb ramps so every individual has equal access to the public right of way.”
The campaign includes the installation of ads in and on City buses and mailers to paratransit and other organizations that serve people with disabilities. The campaign includes reaching out to neighborhoods where requests are low. The initiative comes as DPW and MOD designed, constructed and installed 2,000 curb ramps in fiscal year 2009-2010.
“The goal of the Department of Public Works is to provide safe and accessible public spaces for everyone who shares the roadway. This campaign allows the City to prioritize the construction of curb ramps in order to help maximize our limited resources,” said Ed Reiskin, Director of the Department of Public Works.
Working with the Mayor’s Office on Disability, DPW has surveyed most of the city’s 26,000 intersections and has found that 89% either have curb ramps, or do not need them because there is no pedestrian crossing. However, many existing curb ramps are old and do not meet current federal guidelines or the guidelines established by the City. Because the City plans to install or replace curb ramps on about 46% of corners over the next ten to 20 years, the public is being asked to help the city prioritize where they are needed most.
San Francisco’s ADA Transition Plan for the Public Right of Way is helping the city implement the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) by identifying and prioritizing resources so that more curb ramps are built in locations where they are needed most, including around transit stops and routes, local stores, work locations, public facilities, and schools. The City’s standard designs for curb ramps, with directional ramps at each corner, sets a higher standard for the construction of curb ramps than is currently set forth even by federal law.
In addition to the ad campaign, the City continues to work closely with the disability community to ensure outreach requests for curb ramps are targeted to disabled individuals, groups, and communities who are underserved. DPW sent information on how to request a curb ramp to every single paratransit user in the City, and has also conducted outreach at community events.
“As a person who uses a wheelchair and travels on the streets of San Francisco every day, I am extremely pleased with the progress of curb ramp construction in the City. Many days I travel four or five miles in my wheelchair, and this would not be possible without the network of curb ramps that are available and in place,” said Howard Chabner, Chair of the Physical Access Committee for the Mayor’s Disability Council and longtime San Francisco resident.
In 2009-2010, the City was able to build more curb ramps because of funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). On a standard basis, funds for curb ramps come from the General Fund, or through Certificates of Participation (COP’s) that are repaid from the General Fund. Small amounts of funding are also available from Proposition K and through the state. The City’s Ten-year Capital Plan proposes $82 million over the next decade to build ramps, so that everyone who shares the roadway has access.
The San Francisco Department of Public Works is responsible for the care and maintenance of San Francisco’s streets and much of its infrastructure. The department cleans and resurfaces streets, plants and maintains city street trees; designs, constructs and maintains city-owned facilities, inspects streets and sidewalks, constructs curb ramps, removes graffiti from public property, and partners with the diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco to provide stellar cleaning and greening services.