Controversy Sparks Over Foley Downtown Sidewalks
FOLEY - Construction in downtown Foley is wrapping up and many residents are not happy with the outcome.
During the city council meeting Tuesday night residents had many questions about the slope of the new sidewalks on 4th Avenue North.
City Engineer Jon Halter says the sidewalks are 6 feet wide, have a two percent grade and they have a two foot boulevard slope area that separates the sidewalk from the street. Due to federal ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements, Halter says this is the proper sidewalk design for the area.
The boulevard area is not designed to be a section people should walk on. Council member Leslie LeCuyer says the ADA requirement created a steeper slope than what was expected.
"To make up for our older sidewalks which had a grade or percentage slope from one percent to as high as six percent in the slope, we had to make up some of that difference in that it angled some of the sidewalks. We were all shocked and concerned about the safety of our sidewalks."
At this point one of the main safety concern is people slipping as they get out of their car and walk over the slope area to get onto the sidewalk.
The council does have a couple different options to consider. The city could paint the slope area to make it more visible or they could put on a textured epoxy to make it more slip resistant.
LeCuyer says the possibility of re-constructing the sidewalks is not likely.
"The engineers explained that the money from the federal government and the money from the state follows ADA. If we made any changes that would alter the slopes we would lose our funding."
The council decided its best option would be to wait a year to make any major changes to the sidewalks, this gives them enough time to identify any problems and figure out potential solutions.
4th Avenue North is to be paved this week and road striping is expected to begin next week.