Friday, July 8, 2011

Transit Service Restored After ADA Lawsuit

Last year the New York MTA cut dozens of bus lines. These cuts had dramatic effects on many people in areas where subway service is unavailable or impractical. The New York subway system is not very accessible to people with limited mobility. In the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn a few people affected by the service cuts filed a lawsuit against the MTA on grounds that the cuts violated the American with Disabilities Act. This week the MTA settled the suit and restored two express bus lines into Manhattan.

The Brooklyn Eagle reports here. From the story:
In their lawsuit, Ryan and Halbert, who are both wheelchair-bound, charged the MTA with human rights violations after the agency eliminated the B37 bus on Third Avenue. The elimination of the bus line left two groups of people - the physically disabled and senior citizens - without reliable means of transportation, Daus said.

“Subways are not accessible,” Daus said.

The R line, which runs on Fourth Avenue, does not have handicap-accessible subway stations, he noted. None of the stations has an elevator.

Bay Ridge was hit harder by transit service cuts than other communities, according to Jonathan R. Peters, a professor of finance at the College of Staten Island. Peters said the community has a large population of senior citizens and residents who are physically disabled.

“There was a disproportionate impact,” he said.

The lawsuit, filed last year, was moving along in court when the MTA suddenly agreed to make changes in local transit service.

This is a pretty big deal but not getting much attention. The MTA is vulnerable to charges of violations of the ADA.

Related, here is a story from the LA Times describing new efforts to restrict apron parking as cars blocking the sidewalk also violate the ADA. From that story:
But in the last few years, apron parking has been attacked by a growing and eclectic group of critics, including former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis and a UCLA professor who is a leading authority on parking. They say blocking the sidewalks forces pedestrians to make needless detours and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The city decided to act after being sued by plaintiffs who said apron parking broke laws regarding the disabled. The city attorney's office recently advised the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to start enforcing the parking laws.
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