BoardWalk ramp provides safe pedestrian pathway at county courthouse

June 30, 2016
BoardWalk Ramp installed at County Courthouse, March 15, 2016 (with dimensions added).
BoardWalk Ramp installed at County Courthouse, March 15, 2016 (with dimensions added).

Cleveland, Ohio, the county seat of Cuyahoga County, has made some news recently. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship, and the parade that followed, attended by about 1.3 million people, also made national news.  

Since the Cavs won, the city’s equally beloved baseball team, the Cleveland Indians, went on a tear, with 12 wins in a row. And later this month, the Republican National Convention convenes in Cleveland.

Last January, the Cuyahoga County council decided to renovate the 40-yr-old Huntington Park Garage, located next to the county courthouse, at West Third and Lakeside Avenue, in downtown Cleveland. Completion of the $20 million project is expected by mid-July, in time for the Republican National Convention.

In March, Fred Kruse, Project Manager for Huntington Garage Rehabilitation Project, contacted PSS (formerly Plastic Safety Systems) to resolve an issue with a pedestrian pathway. The issue was a familiar one.

When sidewalks are closed because of construction, most pedestrians can negotiate the alternate route through the work zone, even though the alternate route lacks safe, continuous guidance. It’s a different story for pedestrians with limited vision or mobility issues.

For pedestrians with mobility issues, like those using wheelchairs, problems arise when that alternate route directs them over an existing street curb, for which there is no permanent Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant curb ramp.

For example, these situations are often encountered in sidewalk construction:

  • A street crossing is closed, and the pedestrian pathway must be re-routed. The alternate pedestrian pathway is routed to a temporary crosswalk, which usually includes a curb, if the temporary crosswalk is mid-block; or
  • The sidewalk itself is closed, and the alternate pathway takes pedestrians into the curb lane to get around the sidewalk construction. Pedestrians usually will encounter a curb in their pathway to the curb lane.

Pedestrians with mobility issues, like those using wheelchairs, may find it difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate a street curb that measures anywhere from 2 in. to 12 in. high.

To provide passage over a curb, contractors generally have employed one of two non-compliant methods—they either fill the angle of the curb and street with asphalt, or they throw plywood on top of the curb.

Neither method satisfies ADA slope or minimum width requirements; both could be considered hazardous to all pedestrians, especially those with mobility issues.

As project manager for the garage rehabilitation project, Fred called PSS to discuss his situation. For the remainder of the rehabilitation project, they had re-routed pedestrian access to the garage. Pedestrians would now encounter a significant curb. Fred thought that the BoardWalk Temporary Pedestrian Modular Ramp would solve the issue and give all pedestrians safe passage over the curb.

The BoardWalk Ramp provides accessible, detectable and safe guidance where access routes cross street curbs. Moreover, the BoardWalk Ramp is temporary and modular; it can be assembled and disassembled at will, and moved from location to location.

After a brief discussion, Fred requested a BoardWalk Ramp and Platform configuration, to guide pedestrians over the curb and into the curb lane. The ramp was thus oriented parallel to traffic.

PSS corporate headquarters is only a 15 minute drive from the garage. PSS operators installed the ramp/platform on March 15, only days after initial contact. Operators then checked back a week later to determine if the ramp satisfied the customer’s need, which it did. In fact, all was well until June 20, when PSS received both a voicemail and email from Fred:

“It appears that someone ran through [the BoardWalk Ramp] last night in their car or truck. It is damaged and needs to be repaired…[the] ramp is critical to access to the Courthouse and we need to address this as soon as possible.”

Not coincidentally, the seventh and final game of the NBA Championships had taken place that previous night. About 20,000 fans had attended the Watch Party at Quicken Loans Arena (the “Q”), home of the Cavaliers. Several thousand more were in the downtown area, anticipating and then celebrating the win. Perhaps a fan celebrated the victory a little too much.

As the BoardWalk is a modular device, operators were able to salvage most of the ramp/platform, and were required to replace very few parts. (A grace note: The parts that did require replacement were the least expensive portions of the product.)

Within 24 hours of Fred’s call, the BoardWalk Ramp was back on the job, providing a safe route for pedestrians.

For more information, visit, or call 800-662-6338.

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