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California Department of Transportation
Headquarters - Sacramento
December 22, 2009
CALTRANS, DISABLED RIGHTS ADVOCATES APPLAUD AGREEMENT TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO PEDESTRIAN FACILITIES FOR THE DISABLED
Sacramento – Caltrans has reached an agreement on the settlement of a class action lawsuit filed by Californians for Disability Rights (CDR) and California Council for the Blind (CCB) to improve access to pedestrian facilities such as curbs and sidewalks for persons with disabilities.
The proposed settlement agreement was submitted to the federal court today. The court must preliminarily approve the terms of the agreement and then conduct a hearing before it is binding. There will be a public notice period, and all interested parties and the U.S. Department of Justice will be given an opportunity to review the settlement and provide input to the court. Final court approval of the settlement is not expected before April 2010.
"This settlement is a win-win. It is a victory for all Californians – taxpayers and the disability community who have a right to equal access to all walkways," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "It would be inexcusable to continue to delay these modifications. Instead of debating this through the legal process for the next decade, costing millions of taxpayer dollars, we are taking action to get this work completed."
The terms of the settlement include the following:
- Caltrans will spend $1.1 billion for barrier removal work and other improvements on sidewalks and other pedestrian facilities over a 30-year period.
- Caltrans will ensure that all pedestrian and park and ride facilities under its jurisdiction, which are newly constructed or altered after the date the settlement is approved by the court, are fully compliant with federal and state access requirements.
- Caltrans will ensure that temporary routes, which are provided around and through construction along pedestrian facilities under its jurisdiction, are accessible to persons with disabilities when provided.
"Caltrans is committed to addressing the mobility needs of all Californians and takes seriously its responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Caltrans Director Randy Iwasaki.
The action, filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), alleged that Caltrans discriminated against persons with mobility and/or visual disabilities by denying them full and equal access to sidewalks, crosswalks, park and ride lots and other pedestrian facilities owned or maintained by Caltrans. The lawsuits were filed in both federal and state court in 2006 and 2008.
To view a copy of the settlement agreement, click on the following link: http://www.dot.ca.gov/Documents/Master_Stipulation_and_Settlement_Agreement.pdf