Judge approves New York agreement to install wheelchair ramps at all corners

Judge approves New York agreement to install wheelchair ramps at all corners

A federal court approved an agreement Tuesday for the city of New York to install wheelchair ramps on all of its corners, settling a quarter-century-old court case.

The settlement, authored in March, was approved Tuesday by Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York during a fairness hearing, according to an announcement from the United Spinal Association and the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY).

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"I find that the agreement is fair, adequate, and reasonable for the Plaintiff Class," Daniels ruled. "It provides a comprehensive plan for installation, maintenance and oversight on a reasonable schedule. It is a major step toward full accessibility and mobility for all residents, and visitors to the City."

The agreement will require pedestrian ramps and upgrades on specific schedules for 162,000 street corners across the five boroughs as well as citywide surveys of all the ramps and ongoing maintenance.

It will also require the creation of a new Pedestrian Ramp Unit within the city’s Department of Transportation.

"We've been working on this matter for 25 years, and it's finally resolved in favor of people with mobility impairments,” United Spinal Association President and CEO James Weisman said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the City to achieve 100 percent accessibility at every corner, on the agreed schedule."

The United Spinal Association, then called the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, sued the city in 1994 over its lack of curb ramps, with a 2002 settlement ordering New York to install ramps citywide and establishing a working group to share data and resolve conflicts.

Since the settlement, the group has raised concerns about the completion of ramp installations and upgrades, and in 2014, CIDNY filed its own lawsuit alleging the city had not properly installed or maintained them.