People with disabilities who have trouble using New York City sidewalks and curb cuts have a reason for hope.
A Special Master, someone appointed by a judge to make recommendations, looked at a proposed settlement on curb cuts. He is a national expert on the Americans with Disabilities Act and disability rights. It is now up to Judge Daniels to accept all or some of the Special Master’s twelve recommendations.
The Special Master agrees with our arguments and concerns. We are pleased that our advocacy and statements made by people with disabilities made a difference.
In 2014, CIDNY staff and volunteers surveyed 1066 curbs in lower Manhattan. We showed the horrible conditions of the City’s curb cuts. At the same time, a settlement negotiated with the City by United Spinal was being reviewed. Judge Daniels agreed that other groups representing people with disabilities could weigh in on the new proposal.
CIDNY, with other coalition partners and individuals with disabilities represented by Disability Rights Advocates and Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, told the court that the new proposal didn’t work for all people with disabilities. We told the Judge that the proposal did not require the City to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It did not include the needs of people who are blind. It did not give the City deadlines, a monitoring process, or ensure that curb cuts would be fixed to meet requirements of the ADA in the next 20 years.
Advocates from CIDNY and our coalition partners shared their experiences trying to use City streets. People who use wheelchairs or who are blind told the Judge about having to get off the sidewalks and into traffic because of missing or bad curb cuts. They told the Judge about ending up in the middle of an intersection when curb cuts didn’t have raised bumps that let them know they are leaving the sidewalk. People also told of tripping or having their wheelchairs tip over because of bad curb cuts.
Testimony by New Yorkers with disabilities helped the court and the Special Master understand the need for a better settlement on curb cuts.
You can help us continue to make a difference. We work on a lot of issues that affect people with disabilities. These include health coverage, transportation, housing, education, and employment. To find out more or to get involved, contact Monica Bartley (firstname.lastname@example.org). Monica can connect you with our CIDNY Action Network. She can help you get involved in specific advocacy activities or learn more about what we’re doing. Your voice can be heard.