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The Wyoming Department of Transportation is asking for business cooperation in maintaining a safe and obstruction-free pathway along Lander’s Main Street sidewalks.

“Main Street sidewalks provide pedestrians and customers with a safe route to enjoy shopping and entertainment afforded by Lander and the many local business owners along this highway (U.S. 287),” according to WYDOT maintenance foreman Matt Sanders of Lander. “We appreciate everyone’s willingness in working with WYDOT on this important safety priority.”

WYDOT is required to ensure that all state and federal statutes, rules, regulations and policies, including those related to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), are met on the full width of the state rights-of-way. In Lander, the state right-of-way begins at the front of the building on one side of Main Street in Lander, and the right-of-way extends to the front of the building on the other side of Main Street.

“Non-permitted portable objects, such as benches, clothes racks, signs and sandwich boards,become a problem along U.S. 287 in downtown Lander, and WYDOT and the City of Lander receive complaints from pedestrians using the sidewalks,” Sanders said. “We are requesting, once again, for business owners to partner with WYDOT and the City of Lander to manage these items to provide a safe environment for customers of your businesses and pedestrians.”

WYDOT officials in Lander notified business owners this week of encroachments not meeting ADA requirements, and “WYDOT will begin removing any encroachment that causes an immediate hazard to the public if the owner fails to remove it immediately upon notification,” Sanders said.

Portable items, including but not limited to, sandwich boards, clothes racks, flower pots, bicycles and newsstands, are to be placed next to the face of the building and encroach no further than two feet from the face of the building. Items placed further on to the sidewalk may violate ADA requirements and present a hazard to pedestrians.

Sandwich boards, according to WYDOT, must provide information for the adjacent business and cannot be for a separate business located somewhere else, such as down a side street.

“Encroachments not causing an immediate hazard will be removed after 48 hours if the owner fails to remove it, or the owner cannot be identified. These items will be temporarily stored by WYDOT for retrieval by the owner and will be disposed of after 30 days. After a third notification to a business owner, WYDOT may pick up the encroachment and dispose of it without further notice to the owner,” Sanders said.

Wheelchair-bound and visually impaired individuals are required to have a five-foot unobstructed and continuous passage way, according to ADA regulations. Encroachments within two feet of the back of curb will not be allowed. This is because items placed next to the curb restrict the ability to open car doors to access the sidewalk and limit pedestrian movements at intersections, and this requires a seven-foot obstruction free zone. This eliminates all items unrelated to the functional operation of the highway system, including sandwich boards, portable signs, benches, flower pots, bicycles, etc.

These provisions apply to other towns, too, where the town’s main street is also a state or federal highway.

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