New Ramp to White Pine Trail in Comstock Park
There is a new handicap accessible ramp along the White Pine Trail at the intersection of West River Drive and Division Ave in Comstock Park. The Comstock Park Downtown Development Authority (DDA) became aware of the need for the ramp after Kent County installed a new traffic signal at the intersection last June, At the time, Kent County also built a cross walk with short ramps on both sides of West River Drive to comply with the Americans With Disabilities
Act (ADA) requirements. Projects to improve a road or traffic signal must include bringing the intersection into compliance with ADA requirements, which is why the county built the ramps that are by the road, said Kevin Gritters, professional engineer at Prein & Newhof in Grand Rapids.
The ramp on the west side of West River Dr. is part of the existing sidewalk at MacDonald’s. The ramp on the east side of the street ended abruptly at a seven-foot drop-off down to the White
Pine Trail. While there is no requirement that a ramp be extended down to the Trail, the DDA identified potential safety concerns as well as the need for residents to safely access the White
Pine Trail from the Division Avenue intersection. To address those issues, the DDA decided to build a sloped sidewalk down to the Trail to make the Trail accessible from the crosswalk.
The concrete sidewalk has a 5 percent slope to make it wheelchair usable and is about 130 feet long and six to seven feet wide. A split rail fence will be built between the new walk and the slope down to the White Pine Trail.
The contractor was able to build the sloped sidewalk in January because of mild weather. They completed as much work as possible but still need to build the fence and may need to return in the spring to complete the project. The new sidewalk cost approximately $35,000. The DDA discussed also putting a stairway at the site in addition to the sloped ramp, but that would have almost doubled the cost.