Wednesday, June 12

Sidewalk Safety Lawsuit Filed Against NYC Transportation Department

Being able to navigate city sidewalks isn’t something that most city residents and visitors have to worry about, but as a new lawsuit points out, disabled pedestrians often find the streets of New York City to be largely inaccessible.The advocate group Disability Rights Advocates recently filed a lawsuit against the city, noting that visually impaired pedestrians and residents struggling with mobility have an unreasonably difficult time navigating the city’s sidewalks — if the sidewalks are accessible at all for the disabled — and that this is a fundamental violation of federal disability laws. The dangers that too many pedestrians encounter on a daily basis include steep curbs without ramps at crossings, raised concrete barriers, and broken surfaces on paved streets which make mobility extremely difficult when relying on a wheelchair, cane, or walker.

It is reported that the advocate group offered to serve as a third-party mediator between the city’s disabled population and city officials in an attempt to avoid filing a lawsuit, but upon the city’s refusal to engage in peaceful negotiations, the group decided that the problem would only be solved by filing an official lawsuit.New York City’s Transportation Department — the defendant in the case — claims that the city understands the needs of its disabled community and strives to make the city as accessible as possible; the commissioner of the Department notes that over 90 percent of street corners have sidewalk ramps, and 430 warning strips have been installed to assist the visually impaired. But according to the Disability Right Advocates, the city’s stance on accessibility has been confusing, and that the issue of safety and accessibility is much more important than the lawsuit itself.

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