Make an ADA request

ADA General Information

The City of Seattle strives to make city programs, services, and activities equally accessible to all. Features such as curb ramps, ramps, sidewalks, detectable warnings and street crossings are components of an accessible pedestrian network. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) prioritizes accessibility improvements to the pedestrian network using the Pedestrian Master Plan and as required by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulation 28 C.F.R. § 35.150(d)(2) to provide access to city services and facilities. For general ADA compliance questions within the Seattle public right-of-way, contact the SDOT ADA Coordinator Michael Shaw at 206-615-1974. To request accommodation for a disability to provide you with access to a program, service, and/or activity, contact the City of Seattle ADA Coordinator at 206-684-2489 or visit the City of Seattle ADA webpage. 

Also available is the Seattle Accessible Route Planner. This map is intended to help people plan routes using City of Seattle curb ramps and sidewalks.

Make an ADA Request

SDOT's ADA Program is responsible for the planning, design, and implementation of infrastructure improvements requested by the public to enable those living with disabilities equivalent access to Seattle pedestrian facilities. These improvements include curb ramps, accessible pedestrian signals (APS), and new technology evaluations.

Accessibility improvement requests can be made by individuals living with disabilities or those who directly care for individuals living with disabilities. The program is not intended to address community concerns other than access for people with disabilities. ADA requests are logged and scheduled for improvements in the order in which they are received. These requests can be submitted through the City of Seattle Customer Service Bureau, by contacting SDOT by phone toll-free at 833-414-5871, by email or standard mail, or by using the SDOT ADA Request webpage. Accessible format request forms are also available and are identified below.

It should be noted that any ADA request made is subject to additional prioritization considerations as determined by SDOT, as well as the availability of funding. Some requests for improvements may be deferred if they are found to be infeasible due to existing infrastructure or other limiting constraints. Requestors will be notified if it is found that a request is a duplicate, it will be covered by future capital projects, or if improvements are not feasible.

Curb Ramps

Curb ramps are sloped transitions from the sidewalk down to the crosswalk, which facilitate increased accessibility, particularly for those with limited mobility. Curb ramp design and construction includes a ramp with a detectable warning surface, landings, and necessary sidewalk transitions and (minor) utility modifications.

Example of curb ramps

Customer Requests

SDOT will install curb ramps when requested by qualified individuals with disabilities at locations not otherwise scheduled for improvement. The program is not intended to address community concerns other than access for people with disabilities. To request a curb ramp, contact the SDOT ADA Program by email, call at 206-615-1974, or complete this ADA Request Form or the Curb Ramp Request Form (in accessible format).

SDOT prioritizes requests for curb ramps and scopes, designs, and constructs these ramps within one year from the date the request is received, pending available funding and the number of requests received each year. The process for intake of curb ramp requests is as follows:

  • Curb ramp request information is entered into the SDOT ADA Program tracking log, including the requestor’s name and contact information (when provided), the date of the request, and the location or locations requested.
  • Within 15 days of the request, the requestor is notified that the information has been received. A curb ramp request number is assigned and is provided to the requestor at the time of the response.
  • Within 30 days of the request, the SDOT ADA Program thoroughly investigates the request to determine the full scope of work to be planned to fulfill the request as well as any other obligations that may be required as a result of the proposed improvements. At this time, the requestor is notified of the estimated date of completion (installation) of the curb ramp or curb ramps requested.
  • If it is found that the requested curb ramp or curb ramps are not able to be constructed to meet the current design standards due to significant existing physical constraints, the requestor is notified and the improvements are made to the maximum extent feasible.
  • Requests for curb ramp installations or improvements that are already scheduled as a part of a prior customer service requests, another known upcoming project, will proceed as planned. The requestor is informed of the estimated installation date. If the previously planned curb ramp installations or improvements are scheduled beyond 18 months of the request, the SDOT ADA Program will assume responsibility for earlier delivery of the request through the customer service request program.

All curb ramp requests are prioritized in the order that they are received. SDOT is committed to constructing a minimum of 150 curb ramps resulting from customer service requests each year.

Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS)

Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS)An Accessible Pedestrian Signal is a pedestrian push button that produces an audible signal and vibration to indicate when it is safe to cross the street. Such devices can be helpful to people who are visually or hearing impaired. Requests for APS may only be made at locations where there are existing traffic signals. To request an Accessible Pedestrian Signal, contact the SDOT ADA Program by email, call at 206-615-1974, or complete this ADA Request Form or the Accessible Pedestrian Signal Request Form (in accessible format).

New Technology Evaluations

Let us know if you have would like SDOT to explore new technologies that would make our pedestrian facilities more accessible. Contact the SDOT ADA Program by email, call at 206-615-1974, or complete this ADA Request Form or the Alternative Technology Request Form (in accessible format).

Current Accessibility and ADA Compliance Efforts

(as of May 9, 2018)

SDOT is involved in a many initiatives and efforts to provide improved accessibility and inclusion within the public right-of-way. Some of these efforts are ongoing and will continue from one year to the next. Other efforts may be custom designed, involve community outreach, or may be well beyond the typical SDOT obligations as defined by Title II of the ADA. SDOT constructs or improves existing curb ramps within the public right-of-way as a part of several different programs, most notably larger capital projects and street resurfacing projects. Curb ramp work is also included as a part of SDOT's Safe Routes to School Program, the Pedestrian Master Plan improvements, Neighborhood Park and Street Fund Improvements, as well as private development projects and utility work. SDOT engineers strive to design and build curb ramps to best serve all pedestrians. This can be very challenging given the topography in Seattle as well as any existing built infrastructure such as utilities, areaways, or other conflicts. When larger projects include roadway reconstruction and modifications to channelization, SDOT looks for opportunities to make pedestrians more visible and to shorten street crossings by using curb bulbs or other measures. These efforts can help to make street crossings easier and safer for all pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities. Traffic signal improvements occur that include the installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS), which provide important information to pedestrians with visual and/or hearing impairments. Many SDOT projects include sidewalk installation or replacement of older sidewalks. These new sidewalks can make use much easier for people with disabilities and those using mobility assistive devices.

Additional Details

Note: Documents in alternative formats may be requested if they are not currently in an accessible format using screen-reader or other technology.

SDOT provides opportunities for the public to make specific requests to improve pedestrian mobility. In addition to general maintenance requests, curb ramps and Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) may be requested to serve a person or persons living with a disability that require increased access in specific areas of need. These requests can be submitted through the City of Seattle Customer Service Bureau or by contacting SDOT by phone, email, or by using our ADA Request Form. Customer Service Requests increase access in areas where capital projects or other larger-scale projects are not currently planned.

In 2015, SDOT hired an ADA Coordinator to formalize policies and best practices for achieving ADA compliance within the public right-of-way. The SDOT ADA Coordinator assists with training SDOT staff on ADA compliance, provides technical assistance on design requirements, serves as liaison between the public and SDOT staff, and coordinates and participates in community outreach. The ADA Coordinator participates in national ADA-related conferences and has active communications with others in similar roles throughout the region.  The SDOT ADA Coordinator also works closely with the City of Seattle Title II ADA Coordinator and established interdepartmental accessibility workgroups. These workgroups unite citywide efforts to improve program access across city programs, services, and facilities.

The SDOT ADA Committee is a group of stakeholders comprised of representatives from all SDOT divisions. The Committee meets regularly to further a united departmental approach on ADA compliance and to establish best practices for providing accessibility in the public right-of-way as a department. The committee is charged with drafting policies, procedures, and guidance on ADA and accessibility-related topics as well as assisting in delivering this information to committee member teams and divisions. The ADA Committee is facilitated by the SDOT ADA Coordinator. The ADA Coordinator briefs the SDOT division directors on material covered by the ADA Committee. 

Training occurs both in-house at SDOT via the ADA Coordinator as well as from outside sources to ensure that the staff is aware of current requirements and best practices. Some of the training opportunities that SDOT has participated in include the U.S. Access Board, the National ADA Network, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Trainings include large-scale efforts that deliver material to large groups, including entire divisions within SDOT or even other involved city departments and agencies. Custom workshops are also available and may be tailored to fit the needs of smaller groups within the department.  SDOT actively searches for opportunities to work with individuals and communities living with disabilities to better understand the needs and abilities of all pedestrians.  Engineers and designers at SDOT have participated, and will continue to participate in, blindness simulations, and mobility observations of Deaf-blind pedestrians to better understand the needs of pedestrians with visual and/or hearing impairments. SDOT has worked with professional mobility instructors to discuss possible new treatments in the public right-of-way that could assist pedestrians with visual and/or hearing impairments.  SDOT staff has participated in wheelchair exercises to experience first-hand some of the challenges of rolling over the sidewalks and curb ramps in Seattle. SDOT has a wheelchair available and is used by engineers to test different curb ramp designs after construction to determine and evaluate improvements or adjustments that could be made.

In 2016, SDOT rolled out the Seattle Accessible Route Planner, an online map and planning tool to aid pedestrians in navigating the city’s pedestrian right-of-way. The map will be updated as city assets are added or modified.

This planning tool, viewable on a computer, phone, or tablet device, provides views of different pedestrian features, their locations, and physical conditions of the assets (good, fair, and poor). The map identifies the presence of sidewalks, curb ramps and APS signals to enable users to plan appropriate routes based on their individual preferences and needs. Approximate street slopes, locations of signalized and marked crosswalks, and construction zones or temporary closures are also shown on the map to assist in route planning.

SDOT is in the process of evaluating pedestrian features in the public right-of-way with respect to accessibility. In May of 2016, SDOT completed a citywide evaluation of all known curb ramps, totaling in excess of 28,000 curb ramps. Click on the link to view the procedure used and the final results of the curb ramp assessment in the technical report.Currently the City of Seattle is updating the Transition Plan to ensure access to city programs for people with disabilities. With authority over streets and sidewalks, SDOT is updating the Transition Plan for features within the public right-of-way with priorities for improvements defined in Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulation 28 C.F.R. § 35.150(d)(2). These efforts in updating this plan include public involvement and outreach. The updated plan will be available for the public to view.

The Pedestrian Access Advisory Committee (PAAC) is the primary mechanism for obtaining public feedback for the SDOT ADA Transition Plan. This committee was established to discuss access needs in the public right-of-way for those living with disabilities and to discuss and help prioritize improvements in the SDOT ADA Transition Plan. At each Committee meeting, SDOT reviews priorities for access improvements and reports on those that have been completed. This reporting focuses primarily on curb ramp and APS installations and prioritization. The Committee also serves as an opportunity to discuss any other important access features in the public right-of-way, including sidewalks, designated disabled parking, and any other items considered important in the effort of increasing accessibility in the Seattle public right-of-way.

PAAC meetings include participation from people living with different types of disabilities, disability advocates, residents of the City of Seattle, regional transportation professionals and engineers, and others. The Committee meets at least four times per year (once each quarter) at the Seattle Municipal Tower.

Below are links to previous PAAC meeting minutes, summarizing topics covered.

October 30, 2017 PAAC Meeting Minutes

March 12, 2018 PAAC Meeting Minutes

July 23, 2018 PAAC Meeting Minutes