Google Fiber box installed in the middle of sidewalk

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the past year, hundreds of Google Fiber boxes have sprouted up in the metro. At least one of them has neighbors concerned, after it’s made one busy sidewalk nearly impassable.

Within the past two months, Google installed a new fiber box at the intersection of 39th and Roanoke — right in the middle of the sidewalk.

Sheila Styron works with an advocacy group called The Whole Person, which supports independent living by the disabled.

“I was shocked and appalled,” Stryon said. “Google should really know better.”

Styron pointed out that federal laws, as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act, require three feet of clearance, allowing enough space for a wheelchair.

We measured 13 inches of space from the edge of the grass to the break in the sidewalk beside Google’s box.

“It’s been on the books for a long time that public rights have to be accessible, and we can’t create barriers for people with access issues,” Styron said.

Eric Rogers lives in the Volker neighborhood, and he also directs Bike Walk KC, a watchdog group that helps protect public streets and sidewalks.

“This box doesn’t leave enough sidewalk space for someone to easily walk by,” Rogers said. “Definitely not enough space for someone in a wheelchair to get by.”

Rick Usher from the city manager’s office told FOX 4 News that as many as six Google Fiber boxes were installed incorrectly.

Google Spokesperson Jenna Wandress told FOX 4 News the box was incorrectly placed by the contractor Google used to do the work in the first place. Sure enough, while we were on scene, a manager with that contractor — Ervin Cable Construction — showed up to take measurements and begin to make the change.

“I think it’s a situation of needing stronger incentives to be required to make sure that we live in a more barrier-free world and that our public rights are more accessible,” Styron said.

And thereby, keeping the sidewalks free to all.

Usher told FOX 4 News it should take three-to-four days to assess the work required at each site.

Click here to see Sean McDowell’s FOX 4 Facebook page.

15 comments

  • citizen

    the people of google are irritating a lot of people: cutting trees against the property owners wishes, when the cutting wasnt needed, parking vehicles on peoples property causing damage to the grounds, leaving their messes and trash in people’s yard, etc.

  • Senior Design Engineer

    Check out the location in Street View on Google Earth. One hundred feet North of the box is a street signal pole in the middle of the sidewalk(SE corner of the intersection of 39th & Roanoke). The North-South walk along the West side of Roanoke has missing Accessible Ramps. It also appears the walk along the East side of Roanoke doesn’t meet ADA for cross slope (2.00% max.). I would bet about 70% or more of the City’s sidewalks and ramps don’t meet current ADA Standards.

  • Robert

    Regardless folks, it is just stupid placing a box in the middle of a walkway. Google is responsible as they are the buyer of the installation. Maybe someone in their office of engineering didn’t write a good specification. No surprise there…..engineers, architects and purchasing agents make errors. As long as it can be corrected that is the bottom line. Everyone feel good?

    • kurrent

      Lets see how long it takes to move it. I bet it’s still there 3 months from now. One thing I always find interesting is how people gang up on wall street for being a big mean corporations but when Google lets you download your porn at 100 gps they get a pass and people overlook their oblivious managment..

  • Janet

    This is ridiculous! And how about blocking my driveway for a good portion of the afternoon….I thought blocking driveways was illegal…..not cool…I shouldn’t have to track them down the street so I can leave my driveway……..or digging up some decorative rocks and assuring me that when they were finished it would look the same as before….I believe it when I see it! I think Google Fiber is a huge nuisance!

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