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Disabled Riders to Benefit From Bus Stop Repairs : Transportation: Improvements costing $2.6 million will include new pedestrian ramps and relocation of hazardous benches and signs.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

After learning that 40% of Orange County’s bus stops aren’t fully accessible to disabled people, the Orange County Transportation Authority voted Monday to spend $50,000 to help remedy the problem.

A commissioned study concluded that many of the county’s 6,500 bus stops do not meet the standards of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act.

Most of the stops that don’t comply with the federal act need only “minor types of repairs and can be easily fixed,” OCTA spokesman John Standiford said.

The funds approved by the OCTA board of directors will repair and improve about 25 bus stops. By the time all are upgraded, the project will have cost about $2.6 million, according to the study.

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In addition, Monday’s vote called for new guidelines to establish and maintain bus stops so that future problems will be avoided.

“The money will be well spent,” said Greg Winterbottom, OCTA’s alternate public member of the board. “The study made recommendations that are all doable.”

Improvements will include installing pedestrian ramps, relocating benches and signs that are hazards to disabled passengers, clearing obstructions and installing minimum sidewalk and rear and front concrete pads.

Winterbottom said the best thing about the board’s action is that guidelines will be adopted to spell out how bus stops should be improved and new ones built to meet the needs of disabled passengers.

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The study said some previous improvements to bus stops were installed improperly, creating hazards for the disabled.

“A prime example of this problem is a lip on a sidewalk ramp that exceeds one-half inch and is not beveled at 45 degrees,” the study said. “This condition can cause a person in a wheelchair to fall out.”

OCTA officials said they will work with cities to adopt stronger guidelines for bus stops. Participating cities would then become eligible for transportation program funding support from OCTA.

“The bottom line is a large portion of the problems can be addressed and taken care of easily if we all work together,” said Westminster Mayor Charles V. Smith, an OCTA board member.

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The transit agency voted Monday to select the consulting team of Parsons Brinckerhoff, based in the city of Orange, to help guide an investment study for the Fullerton-Irvine Transit Corridor.

The vote authorized OCTA Chief Executive Officer Stanley T. Oftelie to negotiate an agreement with Brinckerhoff not to exceed $3 million. In April, board members authorized studying the proposed six-mile-wide transit corridor between the two cities.


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