The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. The Act is a civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against people who have disabilities. There are five separate Titles of the Act that relate to potential discrimination. Title II of the Act specifically addresses the topic of making sure public services provided by Local and State governments are accessible to those with disabilities. The ADA Act applies to all public facilities built before and after the arrival of the ADA Act.
It is our goal to update the accessibility of the County highway system in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and Public Right of Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG). Promoting mobility for all residents is a goal of McHenry County's 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan and aligns with the McHenry County Strategic Plan. As a result of this initiative, MCDOT intends that access for persons with disabilities is provided wherever a pedestrian way is newly built or altered, and that the same degree of convenience, connection, and safety afforded to the general public is available to individuals with disabilities.
MCDOT ADA Transition Plan
As a necessary step to provide accessibility under the Act, the McHenry County Division of Transportation (MCDOT) is required to perform a self-evaluation of current facilities relative to the accessibility requirements of the Act. MCDOT is then required to develop an ADA Transition Plan to address any deficiencies in public facilities. As facilities are updated to current ADA standards, the Plan is required to be updated periodically until barriers are removed. The Plan is intended to achieve the following:
- Identify physical obstacles that limit the accessibility of facilities to individuals with disabilities. This inventory/data collection will be performed using IDOT's ADA/PROWAG Inspection Sheet and Field Guide. When practical, it will include photos and videos of the facilities.
- Describe the methods to be used to make the facilities accessible. Where a facility cannot be made fully compliant, the designer will complete IDOT's Maximum Extent Practicable form (BDE Form 3101), which discusses bringing the barriers to full compliance and alternative designs considered.
- Provide a schedule for making the access modifications.
- Identify the public officials responsible for implementation of the Transition Plan.
- Establish a Grievance Procedure, providing a method for individuals to file complaints.
It is anticipated that the MCDOT ADA Transition Plan will be ready in December, 2019. The draft Plan will then proceed through the County Board review and approval process, in order to be officially adopted sometime in early 2020. This project is funded through a Statewide Planning and Research (SPR) grant through the Illinois Department of Transportation.
What will the MCDOT ADA Transition Plan examine?
The MCDOT ADA Transition Plan will consider any elements in the public right-of-way that can pose challenges to accessibility. (Please visit the "Definitions" tab for explanations of these elements.) This includes:
- Bike or side paths
- Curb ramps
- Detectable warning devices
- Traffic signal equipment/accessible pedestrian signals (APS)
- Any other non-ADA compliant features found within the right-of-way
As part of the analysis, the MCDOT team will consider:
- Cross slope
- Running slope
- Curb gutter slope
- Flare slope
- Surface discontinuities
- Height, reach, and location of pedestrian push buttons
- Pedestrian access routes
Accessibility – The design of products, devices, services, or environments for use by all people including those with (and without) disabilities. An accessible facility complies with applicable laws and regulations to ensure that services can be used with same degree of convenience, connection, and safety by everyone.
Accessible pedestrian signal with pedestrian push button – An integrated device that communicates information about the WALK and DON'T WALK intervals at signalized intersections in non-visual formats (i.e., audible tones and vibrotactile surfaces) to pedestrians who are blind or have low vision.
Curb ramp – A small ramp that cuts through or is built up to the edge (curb) of a sidewalk or path to ease passage to the street.
Detectable warning device – A distinctive surface pattern of raised domes that are detectable by cane or underfoot. These alert people with vision impairments of their approach to a street crossing or hazardous drop-off.
Disability – A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. Individual with a disability means a person who has a disability.
Existing facility – A component of the infrastructure that is already in existence on any given date, without regard to whether the facility may also be considered newly constructed or altered.
Facility – In the context of this Plan, facility refers to any piece or component of transportation infrastructure in the public right-of-way.
Pedestrian access route – A continuous and unobstructed path of travel provided for pedestrians with disabilities within or coinciding with a pedestrian circulation path.
Public circulation path – A prepared exterior or interior surface provided for pedestrian travel.
Right-of-way – Public land or property, usually in interconnected corridors, that is acquired for or dedicated to public infrastructure. In this case, right-of-way is for transportation purposes.
Slope – Also called incline or gradient. A difference in level or position between the two ends or sides of an object or facility (e.g., sidewalk or bike path). The slope is calculated by dividing the change in vertical height (“rise”) by the length (“run”). Slope is typically expressed as a percentage.
- Cross slope – The grade that is perpendicular to the direction of pedestrian travel. For example, the slope calculated across a sidewalk or bike path. To meet ADA guidelines, the cross slope needs to be 2% or less.
- Running slope – The grade that is parallel to the direction of pedestrian travel. For example, the slope calculated along a sidewalk or bike path. To meet ADA guidelines, the running slope needs to be 5% or less.
Surface discontinuity – A defect or difference in the outer layer of the pedestrian facility (e.g., sidewalk, bike path, pavement). Discontinuities can be vertical, where there is a height difference in the level between two adjoining surfaces or horizontal where there is a gap parallel to the ground.
Although comments for the 2019 ADA Transition Plan Project are no longer being accepted for inclusion in this version of the Plan (the comment period closed November 1, 2019), we still want to here from you. You can always send us your thoughts and suggestions on ADA issues! Submit your comments through the online form below or by completing this ADA Comment Form and mailing it to the MCDOT using the address at the bottom of the form.
Please keep in mind that the MCDOT only has jurisdiction over McHenry County highways: these are shown as red lines on the County highway map and in the Athena property viewer. Therefore, we can only act on comments for facilities located within McHenry County highway rights-of-ways (i.e., on our roads or intersections crossing our roads). Your suggestions can be regarding any of the items described in the previous tab - essentially, anything in County rights-of-ways that may be posing a challenge or hazard to an individual with a disability.
The formal MCDOT ADA Grievance Procedure will be included in the Transition Plan, scheduled for approval in early 2020. If you have a grievance prior to that time, please reach out to:
MCDOT ADA Coordinator
Susan Borucki, Senior Planner
McHenry County Division of Transportation
16111 Nelson Road, Woodstock, IL 60098
The ADA Grievance Procedure and ADA Coordinator for the County of McHenry can be found here.