Jeff Stephenson, P.E., is the Team Leader of [...]
Sain Associates is currently working with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham (RPCGB) to help their member governments comply with requirements for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plans.
Sain’s role is to serve as a technical resource for the cities and counties in the greater Birmingham region. Once a city/county identifies their ADA coordinator, Sain provides coaching to help the coordinator understand their required duties, prepare documents and assess infrastructure needs relative to ADA compliance.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a wide-ranging civil rights law that is intended to protect against discrimination based on disability. Every city must have an ADA coordinator. If there are only two or three employees for the city, this job could fall to someone like the city clerk. There are a lot of different folks who can be designated as the ADA coordinator — anyone from a building inspector to a fire chief to a public works director. It just depends on what resources the city has available. Since many coordinators have no background in engineering or construction, they may need some training and education to understand their responsibilities.
Preparation, maintenance and updating of an ADA Transition Plan are duties of an ADA coordinator. A Transition Plan sets a framework and schedule for addressing ADA compliance deficiencies. These documents need to be checked every two to four years to make sure they are up to date and progress is being made toward full ADA compliance.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is directed by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to comply with ADA standards. Sain’s role with Birmingham’s MPO (through RPCGB) is to help their member governments achieve and maintain compliance. Our RPCGB contracted work is limited to providing technical advice and administration. We can perform the work needed to bring the infrastructure up to code, but it must be done under a separate contract with that city/county. In our advisory role, we’ve prepared guides for the ADA Coordinators and are currently conducting training classes. Additional help is also provided through field visits to answer specific questions related to inventory or document preparation tasks.
As far as asking for our help, it’s up to the city/county if they want to enlist us. Otherwise, it’s the responsibility of the ADA coordinator to make sure that their city is ADA compliant.