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News for Individual/Advocate

Wheelchair Users Sue Atlanta, Alleging Unsafe Sidewalks and Crosswalks

June 8, 2018
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Three [citizens who are] wheelchair users have filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Atlanta, alleging that many of the city’s sidewalks and crosswalks are so dilapidated it’s difficult if not impossible to navigate them.

The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of all who use wheelchairs or other devices who encounter similar problems throughout the city. It alleges that Atlanta is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Atlanta’s media affairs office did not respond to emails seeking comment.

The lawsuit, filed last month, said disabled people traveling in Atlanta neighborhoods encounter broken and uneven sidewalks; sidewalks obstructed by construction, trees and utility poles; and intersections with curb ramps that are missing, broken or otherwise unusable.

“Navigating sidewalks and intersections in this condition is a dangerous enterprise,” the suit said. “Disabled people often find themselves having to go into the street and move alongside vehicle traffic, at risk to life and limb.”

Uneven sidewalks with broken pavement can be so jarring to wheelchair users they can cause them to fall to the ground, the suit said.

“Many disabled people simply avoid going out into the world, fearing that they will become stuck at an intersection lacking a curb ramp, or that they will be unable to travel along a broken sidewalk,” the suit said.

The plaintiffs are: Laurel Lawson, a software engineer and performance artist and athlete who regularly travels through Atlanta; James Curtis, a frequent volunteer at the Shepherd Center and a music lover who likes to see performances in the city; and James Turner, who works for DisABILITY LINK, a nonprofit that supports [people with disabilities] throughout the metro area.

A statement released Thursday by the plaintiffs’ attorneys said the city of Los Angeles, in 2015, settled a similar lawsuit by agreeing to allocate $1.3 billion over 30 years to bring its sidewalks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilit[ies] Act. Earlier this year, the city of Portland settled another such suit by agreeing to allocate $113 million over 12 years to fix its sidewalks and curbs.

More information:
Atlanta Sidewalks Class Action Information

Wheelchair Users Sue Atlanta, Saying They’re Denied Equal Public Access
Source: Saporta Report

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