In early October, Disability Rights Washington, an advocacy group for people with disabilities, filed a class action suit against Seattle for failing to meet federal and state requirements for safe and accessible curb ramps. Rooted in Rights created a video to help Seattle understand why proper curb cuts are so important. They encourage residents to send photos and videos of bad or missing curbs using #crappycurb on Twitter.
“A lot of attention is being paid to making Seattle more walkable, but not enough has been put into making it more roll-able,” said David Carlson Director of Legal Advocacy for Disability Rights Washington in a press release. “As a cyclist and parent who uses a stroller, I certainly know how convenient it is to have proper curb ramps. However, for people with disabilities, this isn’t a matter of convenience. It is a matter of basic civil rights to safely and equally access one’s community.”
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released a statement in response to the lawsuit declaring that 1,300 curb ramps were set to be installed in 2015. So we’ve reached the end of the year. How is Seattle doing on the accessibility front? In December, the Seattle Department of Transportation posted the following update and before and after photos on their news blog:
“SDOT’s maintenance operations crews have been busy all year repaving streets, extending the life of residential streets and repairing damaged sidewalks. As part of these maintenance projects, our crews built over 200 new curb ramps this year. The ramps are required by a federal law which kicks in whenever we resurface a street or repair a sidewalk at a crosswalk. All the associated corners within these projects must have curb ramps which meet current standards for accessibility. These means SDOT crews replace outdated curb ramps with new ones that are easier to use, or we add curb ramps where none existed before.”
Progress is great, but there’s always room for improvement. Seen a crappy curb lately? Support accessibility for all and tweet about it at #CrappyCurb.