On June 1, U.S. District Judge George Daniels denied a motion by New York City asking for dismissal of a class action lawsuit calling for accessible sidewalks and pedestrian routes.
“This litigation, originally filed July 30, 2014, seeks to require the city to make changes to its sidewalks that it should have made decades ago,” says Daniel Brown, a partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, which, along with Disability Rights Advocates, is representing the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York. The suit focuses on fixing sidewalks and pedestrian routes below 14th street in Manhattan — an area that includes City Hall, Wall Street, the 9/11 memorial, the courts and the departure point for the Statue of Liberty.
This is not the first time New York City has been sued over inaccessible walkways. In 2002, the Bloomberg administration settled a lawsuit filed by United Spinal in 1994, agreeing to complete curb cuts by 2010. Even though a sidewalk has a curb cut, that doesn’t mean it’s usable, says Disability Rights Advocates Attorney Rebecca Rodgers. “DRA has received complaints from the disability community about, in certain cases, the lack of curb cuts and in other cases the usability and condition of curb cuts that do exist,” says Rodgers. “Another aspect that was not covered in the earlier lawsuit is detectable warnings on the sidewalks for blind people.”
“It has been 25 years since the ADA became the law of the land, yet we’re still waiting for New York City to comply with its requirements and make sidewalks safe for all of us,” Susan Dooha, director of CIDNY, said in a statement.