Durango to reduce height of 400-plus parking meters

Voluntary effort to comply with Americans with Disability Act

The city of Durango will spend about $30,000 to lower the height of parking meters to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Enlarge photo

Durango Herald file

The city of Durango will spend about $30,000 to lower the height of parking meters to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The city of Durango will cut the height of more than 400 parking meters in coming months to bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to Wade Moore, parking operations managers for the city of Durango, for years parking meters have been installed at different heights without consideration for the ADA law.

The city has nearly 1,000 downtown parking meters.

The city became aware of ADA height requirements this spring as it sought to replace a number of meters along Narrow Gauge Avenue, Moore said.

As a result, the city decided to proactively begin an effort to make the parking meters compliant with the ADA law, which says the meters can be no taller than 48 inches.

Although the city is entertaining offers until Oct. 24 from companies to do the work, Moore estimated total cost of the project in the $30,000 range.

Moore said it should take crews up to three weeks to complete the work, depending on weather.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil-rights law signed in 1990 that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, such as places of employment and schools, and places open to the public.

Martha Mason, executive director of Southwest Center for Independence, said regulations on parking meter height are in place so all people, especially those in wheelchairs, can reach the meters.

People with disabilities who believe they are victims of discrimination because of their disability may file complaints with the ADA’s Disability Rights division.

Over the years, several complaints have been filed across the country related to a city’s parking meter height, including in Hartford, Connecticut; Tucson, Arizona; and Newark, Delaware.

However, Moore said Durango has not received any complaints related to parking meter height. Instead, the city is being proactive.

It is likely the city has not received a complaint because the city offers free parking for people with disabilities placards or plates (except at 30-minute parking meters).

“So they don’t even have to operate the meters,” he said. “But it still seemed like the right thing to do.”

Mason agreed.

“That’s something really cool they’ve done, and it does make things easier,” she said.

jromeo@durangoherald.com

Comments » Read and share your thoughts on this story