ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Truncated domes

Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act circa 1990, Fedrule funding was made available for curb cuts all across Amerika.

We were told that cutting the curbs down to street level at intersections everywhere would better serve visually-impaired pedestrians as well as those physically-impaired folks who navigate the urban landscape by way of a motorized scooter. By cutting the curbs, they essentially turned the curbs at intersections in “curb ramps.” I'm not making this up. Your Fedrule Govmint at work, kiddies.

That cutting began to manifest itself in this area some ten years ago or somewhere thereabouts. And as an avid cyclist, I couldn’t have been happier at the time save for a drunken romp with Sharon Stone. And as could have been expected at the time, never did I have to share any of these modified at-grade curbs with any members of those aforementioned groups.

In other words, more good intentions amounting to next to nothing except more misapplied Fedrule expenditures.

Here we are a decade later, and we’re reworking every one of those curbs at practically every intersection across the country all over again. Thanks to the boondoggle that is that billion dollar Fedrule Reinvestment Act, now our curbs and transit platforms and the like need “detectable warning surfaces,” as in big rubber mats with truncated domes embedded in the sidewalks at the street‘s edge. All of which is creating temporary work rather than permanent jobs.

Search for "detectable warning surfaces" and plenty of images can be had. To see them with your own four eyes, visit the new crosswalk at Boscov's, the crosswalk at the Wilkes cafeteria or at the intersection of Northampton and Empire.

The purpose of these rubber mats is to alert the visually-impaired to the fact that they are fast approaching the street, the edge of the subway platform and what have you. In effect, it’s like sidewalk Braille shouting Danger! Proximity alert!

While you may or may not have detected the presence of the detectable welcome mats in your municipalities, they are currently being installed all over NEPA. I searched and searched the site, but I was unable to determine what amount of imaginary money the Feds have devoted to this mostly unneeded, but accelerated Utopian malarkey. And a call to a high-ranking Wilkes-Barre City official earlier this morning went unreturned. Although, I did come across the following blurb…

The combined funding of Federal, State and local government on surface transportation is one of this county’s largest domestic spending programs. The funding for pedestrian issues has increased dramatically since 1991. This increase was spurred by transportation legislation, grassroots support, and accessibility policies. Pedestrian projects and programs are eligible for funding in almost every major Federal-aid surface transportation category. Transportation legislation, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) of 1998, call for mainstreaming pedestrian (and bicycle) projects into planning, design, and operation of our Nation’s transportation system.

Yikes! Please tell me we’re not matching those Fedrule funds with any of our scarce local funds. Please tell me that Wilkes-Barre is not spending much-needed resources on the installation of rubber welcome mats. And please, please tell me that bicycle tires will not slide on these rubber mats during periods of precipitation.

Bicyclists…Were you injured because of a rubber welcome mat? Call the law firm of Quigly, Jiggly & Jerk. at 1-800-Truncate.

Anyway, this is a great example of your Fedrule Govmint at work. What we needed, what we asked for was an economic recovery. And what we got was truncated domes as far as the eye could see.

That one-way mission to colonize Mars is looking better and better with each passing day.

Pedal on.


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