Raised section of sidewalk is a major stumbling block for pedestrians and wheelchair users in the neighborhood.
A group of San Francisco residents has proposed a new option for sidewalk improvements: raise up a portion of the sidewalk to make it accessible to people of varying abilities.
San Francisco has had a wide variety of sidewalk improvements in the past — many of them controversial. After all, the city was just slapped with a lawsuit over its $60 million plan to upgrade the median of its street last year.
However, this is the first time in its history that the city is considering raising up the sidewalk to make it more accessible, according to a group of residents who formed the Committee to Raise Up the Walk in 2016.
In a recent report, the group called for raised sections of sidewalks along some areas of San Francisco’s waterfront and along Ocean Front Walk. Though the raised sections would be mostly invisible to those on sidewalks, they’d help improve people’s flow on those sections during rush hour and during the hottest parts of the day.
And in a statement, the committee called it “an important step toward our ambitious goal of making the city more accessible for all people.”
“The committee has been hard at work reviewing the current design and engineering and other solutions to make the city’s sidewalks more accessible,” the group wrote in a report.
Those sidewalk improvements generally fall into two categories, says Jim Graham, the city’s chief of sidewalks and ramps.
“For those on the sidewalks — you have elevated sidewalks, curbs or walkways that may or may not have a barrier,” he says.
In that case, he says, it might simply be a set of posts — or some sort of curb or retaining wall — that raises up at a certain height, depending on where it’s located.
In the other case, Graham says, it’s an additional barrier to prevent someone from being hit, or it’s a board attached to the existing sidewalk that prevents someone from falling off — or simply not having enough space to be able to walk.
Either scenario, Graham says, requires additional engineering — and the cost to raise up the sidewalk in that particular area.
Though Graham acknowledges that bringing in the added barrier could take years — and the city is still working on getting the right height for the deck, whether that be a couple