The New York City Law Department has announced that the City has agreed to the efficient and expeditious installation of pedestrian ramps at all remaining un-ramped locations in the City where pedestrian walkways cross curbs. Pedestrian ramps are an essential element of the City's ongoing efforts to remove barriers which prevent individuals with disabilities, particularly those who use wheelchairs, from traveling throughout the City.
The agreement was reached as a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA), which claimed that the City's delay in installing ramps at every intersection in the City violated the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Law Department represented the Department of Transportation in the settlement discussions.
Under the deal, the City agreed to a schedule of authorized commitments of capital funds for the continued installation of the ramps. For example, the City has authorized the commitment of $15.646 million in fiscal year 2004; for fiscal year 2007, the commitment is for $20 million. The schedule runs through 2010, but if ramps are not installed throughout the City by then, the agreement provides for additional authorizations to be made until the job is finished.
To date, the City has installed pedestrian ramps at 97,664 locations (reflecting 61.5 percent of the City's 158,738 corners). The City's first priority has been to install ramps in the most heavily traveled sections of the City as well as other locations regularly used by individuals with disabilities. As a result, approximately 80 percent of the intersections in Manhattan have already had pedestrian ramps installed. The agreement will now result in the installation of pedestrian ramps in the remainder of the City, thus furthering the ability of the City's disabled to have easier access to all of the City's neighborhoods.