Ending the Senior Shuffle

South across 130th.  East across Aurora.  North across 130th.  That’s how you do the “Senior Shuffle”.  Or perhaps we should say that’s how you did the Senior Shuffle.

Seniors "Shuffling" across the south leg of Aurora and 130th St

Until just a few weeks ago, residents of the Broadview-Bitter Lake-Haller Lake area had to embark on quite a trek in order to get their grocieries.  The intersection of North 130th Street and Aurora Avenue North was incomplete.   There were marked crosswalks on the east, south, and west legs of the intersection and a pedestrian overpass on the north leg.  Unfortunately, the pedestrian bridge was constructed in the 1960s before ADA accessibility standards existed and navigating the stairs that lead from the sidewalk to the overcrossing is not possible by wheelchair.  So without a crosswalk and curb ramps on the north leg of this intersection, pedestrians were forced to do “the Shuffle.”

Over the past decade, the area immediately west of Aurora at Bitter Lake has boomed with senior housing.  Nearly 1,500 new senior housing units have been built in that time.  These residents often walk for exercise or to pick up necessities in the retail shopping complex just east of Aurora.  Needless to say, demand for an accessible, at-grade crosswalk on the north leg of this intersection was quite high.

Through a state grant obtained via the Aurora Traffic Safety Project, SDOT was able to secure funding for a new crosswalk on the north leg of Aurora and 130th.  But installing a new crossing was not simply a matter of painting crosswalk markings on the roadway.  New curb ramps and sidewalk had to be constructed in order to provide ADA compliant pedestrian facilities. 

The north leg of the intersection before construction

On the northeast corner of the intersection, SDOT crews first removed a railing that prevented pedestrians from crossing the unmarked leg of the intersection and curb ramp construction commenced.  Work on the northwest corner, was nearly the same – a railing was removed along with a sub-standard curb ramp. 

The slope of the old ramp on the northwest corner was 19.8 percent. ADA standards allow a maximum slope of 8.3 percent.

 

With the railing gone, the ramps could go in. Both of the new ramps have a slope of 5.4 percent.

Next, SDOT signal crews installed pedestrian countdown signals and our pavement marking crews installed the ladder style crosswalk markings.  The new crosswalk opened for business just a few weeks ago and has been busy ever since.

SDOT crews will be back at this intersection starting next week to construct new ramps on the southeast and southwest corners of the intersection.  Once this work is complete, we can happily say that we’ve put an end to the Senior Shuffle.           

One of the first pedestrians to try out the new crossing