The ADA required communities to have such a plan in place in 1992, so Hudson is overdue, City Engineer Dean Chamberlain told the Common Council Monday night.
“That is not atypical of communities,” he said.
The law initially didn’t have much teeth, Chamberlain said, but now the federal highway administration will start withholding funding for projects if the community does not have the transition plan in place, and the city can also be sued or held to penalty or enforcement action from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“I feel that we need to kind of get this done so that we cannot have the looming cloud of liability over our heads and also make our community a better place for everybody who lives in it,” he said.
The transition plan identifies obstacles to accessing city facilities, and describes the methods that will be used to make a facility accessible, Chamberlain said. It is not meant to be a list of specific projects.
“It’s just kind of more of an umbrella policy that, you know, when we do this project we’re going to also upgrade our facilities to be compliant,” Chamberlain said.
The focus for now is mainly on sidewalks, but the city will eventually identify buildings and other facility needs as well, he said.
The introduction to the council is one of the first steps. The city will continue to draft the plan internally, develop focus groups of community members affected by this plan to hear their comments, hold a hearing and modify the plan as needed before bringing it back to council.
Chamberlain asked for the council’s help identifying people in the community who would be good contacts for the focus group.
A discussion on parking was removed from the night’s agenda. City Administrator Aaron Reeves said staff recognizes there are concerns with the system, and will be addressing them.
The city will focus on education, he said. Enforcement officers will be out in the city to help people use the new parking system, and better signage will be added.
The parking ad ad hoc committee will be making recommendations as well.
The current system is still in place, and being enforced.
The free senior parking program approved at the last meeting is not yet in place. Once it is, permits will be issued at the police department.