Lebanon sidewalk committee to work on accessibility

Gabriel and Julian Iglesias add ADA compliant ramps to sidewalks on North Cumberland Street. The sidewalk construction is part of a repaving project headed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Photo by Georgia Gallagher • Lebanon Democrat

In an effort to ensure the city is doing all it can to make itself accessible to those with conditions that make mobility difficult, a "Sidewalks, Bike Lanes and Trails Committee" is being created.

"The planning commission wanted to combine the ADA committee (Americans With Disabilities Act) and some other people to inspect sidewalks," said Mayor Bernie Ash. "We want them to point out where we need to put ADA spots to make it ADA compliant."

Amendments to the ADA law states that people with disabilities should not be severely restricted in major life activities, including walking outside.

The city of Lebanon wants to ensure that all sidewalks in Lebanon are accessible for all residents and to find where sidewalks need to be repaired or replaced.

"We're in the process of applying for some grants now that will bring in money so we can spend more on sidewalks," Ash said. "Within the next year or so we really want to focus on adding sidewalks and doing more with sidewalks."

Paul Corder, planning director for the city of Lebanon is heading the project.

"We're hearing from the citizens of Lebanon consistently that being able to walk on sidewalks and trails is something they really want," Corder said. "We also have a population that wants more accessibility for bikes."

Corder said that there were already three groups separately working on sidewalks -- the ADA committee, the planning commission and the engineering public service committee.

"We've been working on it but it wasn't as organized as we'd like it to be," Corder said. "We had a bunch of groups working on sidewalks but not all on the same page at the same time, so we thought we should get one group together to focus on it."

Corder said the Tennessee Department of Transportation is also working on fixing sidewalks as they repave roads.

"TDOT is currently repaving U.S. 231 and when they do that they check to make sure all the sidewalks are in compliance," Corder said. "They're fixing a lot of sidewalks on Cumberland Street right now to

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be ADA compliant and the city is really grateful that they're investing their time into our sidewalks."

The city is in the process of selecting people to serve on the sidewalk committee. They want to have one person from the planning committee, one from the public services committee and one from the ADA committee, as well as one person to represent each ward.

"We're going to be giving our list of recommendations to Mayor Ash here shortly," Corder said. "The committee will have their first meeting within the next three months but hopefully it'll be soon."

The committee will meet quarterly and discuss any improvements that need to be made to sidewalks, walking trails and bike lanes throughout the city.

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