The accessibility of Atlanta’s sidewalks have been brought to task in a recent lawsuit filed in Federal Court. Among other things the lawsuit holds that obstructions include, “uneven sidewalks, sidewalks obstructed by trees or utility poles, sidewalks obstructed by ongoing construction, intersections with missing curb ramps, curb ramps that are broken or otherwise unusable, and other impediments”.
Furthermore the lawsuit holds that the inaccessible sidewalks are the result of a “systemic, knowing failure by the City to maintain its public rights of way, in a manner to ensure that they are equally accessible”.
The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of people who use wheelchairs or other assistive devices, and it alleges that Atlanta is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The plaintiffs are Laurel Lawson, James Curtis, and James Turner, all of who use mobility devices and have frequently encountered access obstacles on the city’s sidewalks.
Interestingly enough, this lawsuit mirrors a similar California case (Barden v Sacramento) which was settled in 2004. The access failure claims in that case were similar, and the court approved settlement required the city to allocate 20% of its annual transportation fund for the next 30 years to make sidewalks and other city rights of way more accessible.
Stay tuned, as this appears to be another precedent-setting case.