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Patch Watch: Los Gatos Fixes ADA Non-Compliant Crosswalk

Corrections to problematic islands come more than a year after this publication highlighted the issue in this weekly column.

Los Gatos is in the process of fixing an Americans With Disabilities non-compliant crosswalk at the intersection of Lark Avenue and Los Gatos Boulevard.

Town officials were made aware of the problem through this weekly column, which normally runs on Tuesdays, and reported recently that they are, indeed, making the crosswalk ADA compliant.

The work will include ADA ramps, a reconfiguration of the sidewalk and improvements to the traffic island. The work should be completed within a couple of weeks, said Los Gatos Parks and Public Works Director Todd Capurso.

The intersection had become problematic for those using mobility scooters and wheelchairs who were unable to cross in a safe manner while heading south on the Los Gatos Boulevard crosswalk.

There were no ramps at the start of the crosswalk on Lark Avenue, requiring the usage of the vehicle access to the 76 Gas Station, 15171 Los Gatos Blvd., to get down to the street and access it.

They then proceeded to the large triangle island, which has the traffic light, but their access again was impeded due to the lack of a ramp. They had no choice but to go around the island to rejoin the sidewalk and attempt to cross the street.

While the light turned red, however, they were forced to wait on the actual crosswalk and were in harm's way by motorists traveling eastbound on Lark Avenue and making a u-turn to travel westbound on the road.

Traveling southbound across the street they then found another missing ramp from the smaller triangle island, which also has a traffic light. Once again, they had to go around to finally access a ramp on the south side of Los Gatos Boulevard.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, building on an earlier law requiring curb ramps in new, altered, and existing sidewalks, added impetus to improving conditions for sidewalk users. People with disabilities rely on the pedestrian and transit infrastructure, and the links between them, for access and mobility.

Los

Los Gatos disabled rights advocate Mike Calahan cheered when he found out of the work being done at the intersection. "We made a different," he exclaimed. "No one was talking about that until we brought it to the town's attention and now it's being corrected. I'm excited. Thanks for running the story and doing some good for LG."

Mike Calahan November 18, 2012 at 06:52 PM
I don't know if I qualify as a disabled rights advocate, but that sure makes me sound cool. :) I'll try and take some photos of the improved islands. I've already seen someone with a wheelchair be able to remain out of harm's way because of ADA compliance, so I'm thrilled this is happening.
michele williams November 18, 2012 at 08:16 PM
As a parent of a child with disabilities I thank you so much for observing this problem, and advocating for the change. I encourage you to continue your new found role as "Disability Rights Advocate" .... There are safe access issues all around us, putting some in danger as in the crosswalk, or being excluded, even unintentionally. Thank you for speaking up for those with no voice and I am proud of you bro. Hopefully,, you have raised some accessibility awareness...and the citizens of Los Gatos will look around and see where they can also make a difference for others.
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) November 19, 2012 at 12:28 AM
And it's so dangerous out there and so tragic and horrible when we lose the ones we love.
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) November 19, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Hi Mike, you're a disabled rights advocate in my book and an amazing writer and a very compassionate and caring human being! Thank you for all your help at educating us about these issues.
Mark Romoser November 26, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Excellent work! Now you, as well as other Los Gatos residents, should be on the lookout for other access failures in town. Once you bring them to the town's attention, they get fixed!
John Z Wetmore December 10, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Here is a discussion of the Americans with Disabilities Act and sidewalks, including the Barden v. Sacramento court case that determined that sidewalks are indeed covered by the ADA. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksqfGz6Y0v0
Gary Hinze May 04, 2013 at 04:42 AM
It has been fixed. Probably a while ago. See the new pictures.

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