More Elementary School ADA Violations and How You Can Help

Had a chance to ride up to and around a few elementary schools yesterday, as I made my way from home in the South Valley up to Tramway and Central. “Snagged” Bandelier, Emerson, Hawthorne, Whittier, and Zia, having already checked Bandelier ES out via Google in a recent blogpost.

As anyone who has lived here for any length of time might suspect, I yesterday found plenty of utility poles and hydrants out of ADA compliance, cases in which fewer than 36 inches of sidewalk passing room is left on either side of the pole/hydrant. ADA rules are more complex and standards actually require more than 36 inches, but the low bar of three feet gives us cases that absolutely, positively should have been fixed years ago.

In fact, I think I might have found the internal code used by inspectors and others in the field to denote ADA non-compliance.

Hawthorne ES, corner of Domingo and General Somervell

Does “N (arrow pointing) A” mean “Not Accessible”?

Like probably most of us not named R. Crumb, I’ve never really taken the time to pay attention to utility poles and fire hydrants. Then again, I also happen to not yet need a wheelchair or cane to get places. So they’ve pretty much just “been there” for my first 58 years on the planet.

That 58 years gets me to my next example of ADA non-compliance.

old pole
Pershing SE alongside Bandelier ES

At some point in the past 58 years, a crew has come along and replaced the shorter, darker utility pole you see above with the taller, lighter-colored pole. Notice the new pole is inside the fence of Bandelier ES, while the old pole is almost smack-dab in the middle of the sidewalk.

New Pole = Good Location
Old Pole = Bad Location

I say “replaced” because, unlike plenty of other situations in which wires are connected to two adjacent poles, a closer examination shows there is nothing connected to the Old Pole.

no connection
Photograph doesn’t quite make it certain, but it’s certain…no wire is attached to the shorter pole

The only wire on the old pole, seen running vertical on its right side, is a grounding wire. But there’s nothing to ground. There is absolutely no reason for this old pole to be almost smack-dab in the middle of the sidewalk. Evidently, a crew came some time back, probably well after the 1990 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and put up the new pole in a good location…and just left the old, utterly unneeded, pole almost smack-dab in the middle of the sidewalk.

Because, well, because fuck people trying to make it down the sidewalk, I suppose.

Very much including those who need wheelchairs or canes to get by, and also including kids who might want to walk to school without constantly avoiding barriers or having to walk in the street.

In case you’re wondering if I might have some information about this old pole, I do. Thanks for asking:

qwest pole

So readers, here’s what I need. As someone who hasn’t really paid attention to this stuff for 58 years, can anyone out there tell me the best way to use the info above to get Qwest or whoever the Hell to remove this goddamn utility pole? And preferably to do so well before 58 years from now?

Any guidance on this matter is EXTREMELY appreciated. First inclination might be to make a 311/SeeClickFix report, but note my desire to not have this take 58 years. Email us at BB or via any other means you see fit with your ideas and suggestions. Hell, you could even make a comment with ideas/suggestions here.

The warming weather will make it just that much easier to ride about town scoping more utility poles and hydrants. Readers are also encouraged to speed things up and submit their own visual findings at sidewalks along elementary schools around town. With almost 100 APS elementaries out there, there’s plenty to see.




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