Category: In The News

ADA Lawsuits and Web Accessibility

Website Accessible Keyboard

As more organizations conduct business online and through their websites, the need to ensure websites are accessible to people with disabilities has become an urgent issue. In a recent Search Engine Journal article, more than 1,700 ADA related lawsuits were spotlighted to show that inclusive design and following website accessibility guidelines is now a must. This trends will only continue to grow and that is why, in addition to Title II and III, BlueDAG provides 508 and website accessible support to its customers.

Source:
How Your Company Can Prevent ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits
Kim Krause Berg, Search Engine Journal
May 17, 2019
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/prevent-accessibility-website-lawsuit/306055/

City of Columbia Starts Work to Create Accessible Public Right-of-Ways

City of Columbia Starts Work to Create Accessible Public Right-of-Ways This week, the City of Columbia, Missouri, started work to improve its public right-of-way for people with disabilities. Two major thoroughfares were closed to allow construction crews to improve pedestrian signal systems, replace sections of sidewalk that acted as barriers to mobility, and added new curb ramps to intersections. For many municipalities, fixing obvious public right-of-way barriers is an important first step in creating truly accessible communities for their senior citizens and residents with disabilities.

Source:
Ash Street closes to make repairs under the Americans with Disabilities Act
Logan Ball, KOMU 8
May 14, 2019
https://www.komu.com/news/ash-street-closes-to-make-repairs-under-the-americans-with-disabilities-act

 

Students with Disabilities Need More Infrastructure Support

Student with disability travels down the ramp that leads to Blegen Hall on Thursday, April 18. He said the ramp is often filled with people walking, so he has to wait for his route to clear.

Understanding the needs of students is a challenge. Understanding the needs of students with disabilities is even more challenging, especially when trying to understand what they need getting to school, moving around campus, and to be active participants in the classroom. Recently, the Minnesota Daily spotlighted uncommon barriers students with disabilities face each day. Things like four-foot wide ramps and four-person elevators meet ADA standards but are not adequate when students with disabilities are competing with able-body students for their use. The lesson we all need to remember is that ADA coordinators and stakeholders with disabilities need to be at the table when planning infrastructure and facility projects.

Source:
Day-to-day life differs for those with disabilities at the University
Audrey Kennedy, Minnesota Daily
April 29, 2019
https://www.mndaily.com/article/2019/04/n-day-to-day-life-differs-for-those-with-disabilities-at-the-university

Sacramento Re-Opens Baseball Field Designed for People with Disabilities

Baseball Diamond Made For People With Disabilities Reopens In South Sacramento CBS Sacramento April 13, 2019 https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2019/04/13/baseball-diamond-made-for-people-with-disabilities-reopens-in-south-sacramento/

Across the nation, cities are evaluating the accessibility of their recreation programs and parks. While many parks and programs are still being reviewed and plans are being developed to make them accessible to all, some cities have already opened facilities and programs for those with disabilities. In California, the City of Sacramento has worked diligently with the Sacramento River Cats, a local minor league baseball team, to remodel and resurface a baseball field designed for people with disabilities. This forward thinking gave the City the resources it needed to expand its accessible sports programs.

Source:
Baseball Diamond Made For People With Disabilities Reopens In South Sacramento
CBS Sacramento
April 13, 2019
https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2019/04/13/baseball-diamond-made-for-people-with-disabilities-reopens-in-south-sacramento/

Tech World Honors Inventor of Truncated Domes

Visually Impaired Person Approaching Truncated Domes

52 years ago, the world was changed when Seiichi Miyake invented tactile paving blocks, also known as tenji blocks and truncated domes, to help the visually impaired better navigate and interact with the world around them. Today, Google, CNET and others are honoring Seiichi and his work to create safe paths of travel for those with visual impairments. His work was forward thinking and helped create accessible and safe environments for all.

Sources:
Google Homepage; Search: Seiichhi Miyake
March 18, 2019
https://www.google.com/search?sa=X&site=webhp&q=Seiichi+Miyake&oi=ddle&ct=celebrating-seiichi-miyake

Google Doodle pays tribute to Japanese inventor Seiichi Miyake
Jackson Ryan, CNET
March 17, 2018
https://www.cnet.com/news/google-doodle-pays-tribute-to-japanese-inventor-seiichi-miyake/

DOJ Continues Crack Downs on Municipalities Not in Compliance with the ADA

Humboldt County Courthouse

While the Americans with Disabilities Act has been law for more than 28 years, the U.S. Department of Justice has let many infractions slide by because they saw local municipalities were making slow progress to get into compliance with the law. That was until the late 2000’s when the DOJ decided local municipalities had enough time to make the needed investments to get into compliance with the law. Now, the DOJ is going after municipalities with some heavy lawsuits.

Humboldt County is spending $27 million over the next seven years to ensure its facilities, programs and services are in compliance with the ADA because of a 2008 DOJ investigation and settlement agreement.  A move that is putting the county in financial hardship, but work that its leadership is committed to.

These cases are not rare. In January we did a spotlight on suburban cities complying with the ADA in fear of losing federal funding as a result of DOJ investigations. In our discussions with the DOJ, investigators and prosecutors want to see that local municipalities are doing their due diligence to remediate their access barriers and have an up-to-date transition plan in place. While it does take a lot of coordinated work and investment, being compliant with the ADA is helping save many municipalities from the scrutiny of the DOJ and the public.

Source:
Humboldt County projected to spend $7 million ahead of Disabilities Act deadline
Shomik Mukherjee, Times-Standard
February 28, 2019
https://www.times-standard.com/2019/02/28/humboldt-county-projected-to-spend-7-million-ahead-of-disabilities-act-deadline/

ADA Myths Put Businesses at Risk

ADA Parking Spaces

ADA Parking Spaces

Since its passage more than 28 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has helped guide us to ensure the facilities we operate our businesses out of are accessible to all people. While the law’s application to new buildings is pretty clear, there are some myths about the limitations of the law on older buildings that can put businesses at risk. In a recent article in Kiplinger, some of these myths such as grandfathering and tenant obligations are clarified and debunked. As a rule of thumb, it’s always good to assume your place of business must adhere to the ADA.

Source:
4 Myths about the ADA that Could Cost You a Lot of Money
H. Dennis Beaver, Kiplinger
February 27, 2019
https://www.kiplinger.com/article/investing/T008-C032-S014-4-myths-about-the-ada-that-could-cost-you-money.html

 

Park Accessibility Point of Focus Across the Nation

In Aurora, Illinois, the City is using a variety of funding sources to make its RiverEdge Park, a major music venue in the region, more accessible by adding better parking, accessible shuttles, and 60 ADA compatible companion seats.

A few weeks back, we highlighted the great work the Town of Sudbury, Massachusetts, is doing to upgrade their school parks to make them more accessible to children with disabilities.

The subject of improving parks to make them more accessible to all is a hot topic right now. The City of Moscow, Idaho, is surveying their community to help planners select new playground equipment that will exceed federal ADA standards. The City is taking this significant step to ensure its parks meet the needs of children with disabilities.

But creating accessible parks goes beyond serving the needs of children, it also extends to adults with disabilities. In Aurora, Illinois, the City is using a variety of funding sources to make its RiverEdge Park, a major music venue in the region, more accessible by adding better parking, accessible shuttles, and 60 ADA compatible companion seats.

Recreation and park accessibility initiatives are rapidly moving to the forefront of public efforts. Despite what some may think, parks and recreation programs do not escape ADA requirements. Accessible and inclusive parks must be a part of all transition plans and future community enhancement planning.

Sources:
Moscow seeks input on playground equipment
Staff, The Lewiston Tribune
February 10, 2019
https://lmtribune.com/northwest/moscow-seeks-input-on-playground-equipment/article_26473bcc-fc34-5c0b-839c-14b42d6b2fd3.html

Aurora seeks grant to make RiverEdge Park more accessible for people with disabilities
Steve Lord, The Beacon-News
February 14, 2019
https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-aurora-grant-st-0215-story.html

Public Right-Of-Way Accessibility Becomes Apparent in ADA Audits

Oregon needs 13 more years to get sidewalk ramps to comply with disabilities act Ben Botkin, Salem Statesman Journal January 29, 2019 https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/29/oregon-transportation-department-curb-ramps-ada-compliant/2615998002/Ensuring sidewalks and curbs ramps are in compliance with ADA standards are major issues for many municipalities across the United States. While much work is being done to ensure pedestrian paths of travel are accessible to all, many municipalities are discovering that many of their public right-of-ways are not in compliance with ADA.

In Oregon, the Salem Statesman Journal reported that the “State still has an estimated 13 years of work to get all of its 27,334 sidewalk ramps compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.” While this outlook may seem daunting, Oregon is proactively working towards correcting many of the simple fixes. In the near future, they will put in textured surfaces at intersections while making long-term progress to install curb ramps at more than 4,403 locations. It won’t all get done at once but the State will make significant progress over the next five years.

In Dothan, Alabama, problems with curb ramps have also come to light. The Dothan Eagle recently reported that a “survey of Dothan’s city sidewalks revealed more than 76 percent of curb ramps do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.” Of the City’s 624 sidewalk, 338 of them failed ADA standards. Many of them failed because of cracking or slope issues. The survey also found that 1,124 of the City’s 1,468 curb ramps were non-compliant.

Regardless of the findings in the evaluations, the important part, and the part that the federal government and Department of Justice care about, is that both Oregon and Dothan evaluated their public right-of-ways, discovered the areas that are out of compliance with ADA, and have a realistic plan to correct the problems. Even if it does take time.

Sources:
Oregon needs 13 more years to get sidewalk ramps to comply with disabilities act
Ben Botkin, Salem Statesman Journal
January 29, 2019
https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/29/oregon-transportation-department-curb-ramps-ada-compliant/2615998002/

Most of Dothan’s sidewalks and curb ramps fail Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines
Jeremy Wise, Dothan Eagle
February 4, 2019
https://www.dothaneagle.com/news/government/most-of-dothan-s-sidewalks-and-curb-ramps-fail-americans/article_75dc6a28-28ad-11e9-a6cd-77435d6e37d4.html

O’Hare Adds Changing Places Restroom to Serve Travelers with Disabilities

O’Hare International Airport in Chicago now offers expanded service for travelers with disabilities and their caregivers. O’Hare’s new “Changing Places” restroom features an adult changing table, motorized lift system, and an accessible shower, in addition to its ADA compliant toilet and sink.

Read the full story at https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/01/06/changing-places-restroom-increases-accessibility-for-ohare-passengers-with-disabilities/

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