One hundred and thirty six curbs in the city of Kingston are getting a major makeover. Mayor Steve Noble said this was to make the city’s curbs compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Many of the city’s sidewalks have a straight dropoff that can be more than a foot. But the ADA mandates that curbs have a ramp with a slope that makes it easy for wheelchairs, scooters, or even folks with strollers, to cross the street.

“We really are concerned about accessibility for all here in Kingston," Noble said. "And so while some of the work our residents will hear are the construction crews out there with jackhammers, they move very quickly.”

Throughout the state, more work needs to be done for communities to make their curbs ADA compliant. The law mandates that when a municipality is doing road renovations, they must also redo any curb along that road that isn’t ADA compliant.

What You Need To Know

  • Kingston is rebuilding 136 of its curbs to be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act or ADA

  • ADA-compliant curbs mandate no drop off from sidewalk to street, with a slow slope for folks using wheelchairs or scooters

  • The funding for Kingston’s construction efforts comes from federal ARPA dollars along with New York State’s CHIPS grant

Karen Welch, an attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services, said the changes may seem small, but have a huge impact.

“It benefits families in strollers, people on bikes, the elderly who can't navigate the streets like they used to," she said. "So making things more accessible makes it better for the whole community.”

She said it’s hard to put a number on how much of the state still needs to make the changes, but the way forward is through education, and in some instances, litigation.

“Making an example of one or two… maybe cities or municipalities that have really dug their heels in and refuse to do what they need to do, would set an example and maybe make other people think twice about not doing what the law requires," Welch said.

Noble said Kingston will look to do more, like adding more ADA-accessible on-street parking along the city’s main strip.

“Generally our ADA ramps are at the corners," he said. "And so when we do have parking, we try to put them closer to the corner. So people then have an aide because all of the curbs are ADA accessible on Broadway. But parking is definitely still a challenge.”