Accessible sidewalks are an essential component to ensure that people with disabilities are integrated into the country’s economic and social life. Without properly configured sidewalks, public travel for individuals who use wheelchairs is, at best, inconvenient, and, at worst, life-threatening. The lack of properly configured sidewalks inhibits the ability of individuals who use wheelchairs to travel safely and effectively within their communities, and to and from their homes, schools and jobs. In short, the absence of accessible sidewalks stands as a potential barrier between people who use wheelchairs and every aspect of their daily lives.
Ms. Kathleen Barajas is a person with disabilities. She uses a wheelchair for mobility. On numerous occasions, she came face to face with the frustration and risks that flow from poorly designed and poorly maintained public sidewalks near the City of Los Angeles. One particular problem vexed her. The public sidewalk between her bus stop and the neighboring shopping center in the City of Pico Rivera, located in Los Angeles County, had a voltage tower and stoplight that were planted in the middle of the sidewalk, obstructing the path of travel and resulting in less than the 36 inches of width demanded by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
As the result of these impediments, the plaintiff was forced to backtrack and go through the parking lot of a nearby CVS Pharmacy. She had to travel behind parked cars and the vehicular drive paths of that CVS to get between bus stops. Her other option was to risk her life traveling in the very busy street, adjacent to fast moving cars.
The plaintiff complained about this situation to the Center for Disability Access. The Center was happy to take the case. The Center has successfully prosecuted hundreds of lawsuits against Cities and Counties for violating the ADA and discriminating against persons with disabilities. The Center first served a Government Claim on the City of Pico Rivera. But the City did nothing. The Center then filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ms. Barajas.
Within four months of filing the lawsuit, the City paid Ms. Barajas for the inconvenience and frustration it had caused her by failing to comply with the law and, also, agreed to remove the barriers and provide a fully compliant public sidewalk by a certain date.
If you are a person with a disability and have encountered inaccessible public sidewalks, don’t hesitate to contact the Center for Disability Access. We represent our clients for free and we have developed a sophistication and expertise in these cases. We would love to talk to you about your case.