This Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan and Self-Evaluation establishes Whatcom County’s ongoing commitment to providing equal access for all, including those with disabilities. In developing this plan, Whatcom County has undertaken a comprehensive evaluation of its facilities and programs within the public rights-of-way to determine what types of access barriers exist for individuals with disabilities. This plan will be used to help guide future planning and implementation of necessary accessibility improvements.
The final public hearing for the County Council and adoption of the Whatcom County ADA Transition Plan is scheduled for 6pm on Tuesday, May 4. All council meetings are virtual at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ADA Transition Plan Within the Public Rights of Way
The document has been broken down into chapters to make downloading easier. Click on a chapter below to download the PDF:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted on July 26, 1990 and provides comprehensive civil rights protections to persons with disabilities in the areas of employment, state and local government services, and access to public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications.
Counties and other government agencies are required to have an ADA self-assessment and transition plan when they grow beyond a threshold of 50 employees. Accessibility requirements extend to all public facilities. The scope of this plan is focused on accessibility within the public rights-of-way, selected public buildings and parks.
There are five titles, or parts, to the ADA of which Title II is most pertinent to travel within the public rights-of-way and government buildings. Title II of the ADA requires Public Entities to make their existing “programs” accessible “except where to do so would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program or an undue financial and administrative burden.” Public rights-of-way, public government buildings, and public parks all fall within the County’s programs.
This effort was initiated by Whatcom County to satisfy the requirements of ADA Title II Part 35, Subpart D – Program Accessibility § 35.150(d)(3) which states:
The plan shall, at a minimum—
(i) Identify physical obstacles in the public entity's facilities that limit the accessibility of its programs or activities to individuals with disabilities;
(ii) Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;
(iii) Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance with this section and, if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year
(iv) Indicate the official responsible for implementation of the plan.
The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (ADAS), is the standards document in which all federal ADA standards are collectively held. The 2010 ADAS and regulations from the 28 CFR Part 36 replaced the 1991 ADA (ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG)).
The Draft Guidelines for Accessible Public Rights-of-Way was first published by the US Access Board in 2005. The US Access Board’s Proposed Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way, or PROWAG, was published for comment in 2011. Both the 2005 and 2011 guidelines have not yet been adopted as standards. Despite this delay, many public entities currently use the draft PROWAG as ‘best practice’ for features within the public rights-of-way and this practice has been endorsed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the US Access Board.
The public right-of-way facilities evaluated under this plan were evaluated against the 2010 ADAS and PROWAG.