Staff Council members are looking to better accommodate disabled students by preventing bicyclists and skateboarders from using the handicap ramps.
The transportation and parking committee within Staff Council informed members bicyclists and skateboarders are misusing the ramps. Jennifer Wiley, chair of Staff Council’s transportation and parking committee, said the bicyclers need to follow rules when using the ramps.
Krista Haynes, Staff Council chair, said there are disabled students on campus. She said bicyclists and skateboarders create a dangerous environment on the ramps, which make it difficult for them to navigate.
“We have a lot of students who are Americans with disabilities whether they are in wheelchairs or on crutches, and when they try to use the ramps we have bicycles and skateboards speeding down the ramps,” Haynes said.
The ramps around campus were built to accommodate individuals with limited accessibility, said Michael Petty, assistant director in Facilities, Planning and Design.
“They (the ramps) are not intended for bicyclists or skateboarders,” Petty said. “We don’t want to get hard on the students, because their accessible means are often bicycles. But simply out of respect for those who really need to use the ramps, they shouldn’t be using them.”
The minimum width of a ramp is required to be 36 inches, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Petty said this is not wide enough for bicyclers, skateboarders and students with disabilities to use simultaneously.
Haynes said the issue has arisen at previous staff council meetings. The staff council transportation and parking committee is working with the proper university officials to create accommodating solutions, Wiley said.
“Obviously that (bicyclists and skateboarders using the ramps) has been seen as a problem and one we want to address,” Haynes said. “The two committees are working together to see how we can better serve our students and our faculty and staff.”
The first step to addressing the problem is rewriting the University Policy and Procedures, Haynes said. University Policy and Procedure No. 07.11.01 states the university will comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The policy also reads, “specific and reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities” must be provided.
Haynes said the use of the ramps needs better definition in the UPPS.
“That (rewriting the university policy and procedures) is going to be the first line of defense and then working with the university police department in making sure those rules are enforced,” Haynes said. “We are focusing very hard on determining who we are and what we are all about.”