Ramps near sidewalks raise issues in Donaldsonville

City Councilmen on Tuesday discussed how they might address issues raised because two Railroad Avenue businesses had installed some ramps alongside city sidewalks.

Glenn Shaheen, of city-contracted engineering firm GSA Consulting Engineers, said that the ramps, located in front of Midway Grocery and The Grapevine Café and Gallery, were not approved by the city and do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The ramps were funded and constructed by the business owners to help customers get on and off the sidewalk, Shaheen said.

City Attorney Chuck Long said he felt the ramps should not have been built on an existing city servitude without permission from the city.

Councilmen expressed concern over possible liability issues if people using the ramps were injured.

Shaheen said his office could convert the ramps to bring them to ADA standards, but that the work would eliminate nearby parking spaces. He added that the work could cost up to $2,000 for each ramp.

The council took no official action on the matter.

Other items considered by the council included:

MARCHAND DRIVE: Sullivan said that he has received numerous complaints about the current DOTD road project along Marchand Drive in the city.

“We’ve received a lot of complaints about the change to two travel lanes with a middle turning lane,” Sullivan said after the meeting.

The work is part of a plan to repave La. 3089, which becomes Marchand Drive within the city limits.

One point of contention with residents has been the lack of a dedicated turn lane and signal arrow at St. Patrick Street, the mayor said.

“I met with DOTD before the project began, and they said that the traffic count there doesn’t warrant putting an arrow,” Sullivan said. “They recommended going to three lanes and said that should help.”

Councilman Emile Spano said he feels the change to two travel lanes would help slow traffic coming through the city.

MILLAGE RATES: The council voted to maintain the city’s current millage rate, which totals 11.52 mills, for 2013.

Of the total rate, 6.52 mills are for general property taxes and 5 mills are collected for the city’s Fire Department.