Riford group moves ahead on front ramp

By Dave Schwab

After some advice from the city, the Friends of the Riford Center board has decided to add a front-entry, disabled-access ramp to the adult center allowing a single entrance.

Board Chair Glen Rasmussen said the city has stepped in and made an interpretation of the law to allow the sidewalk in front of the center to be narrowed.

“It’s an interpretation of the law that doesn’t require a deviation,” he said, noting a front ramp will present some challenges for the disabled that a side entrance would not.

“The slope of the sidewalk on the side (Bonair) is only 3 percent and the ramp is 8 percent and is only 3-feet wide,” Rasmussen said.

When completed, wheelchair users will have to go all the way to the top to turn around while those coming down may sometimes have to wait, he added.

The Friends had previously sought a side entrance for disabled access on Bonair Street, contending it would be less complicated and costly. Neighbors objected, saying a side entrance would become the main entrance and would disrupt the neighborhood.

Rasmussen said a second ADA-compliant side entrance would still be needed during construction, something Fran Zimmerman, a former Bonair resident, objected to.

“Riford received a CDBG grant in Fiscal Year 1996 for $37,256 to create an ADA-compliant rear entrance to the building,” she said. “This was accomplished. That rear entrance is marked, still exists, and would serve during construction of the front ramp.”

The issue will likely be heard at the La Jolla Community Planning Association on Oct. 6.