Agreement reached to make Denver’s pedestrian pathways more accessible

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person in a scooter stuck at a curb with no curb cut

The City of Denver announced an agreement with the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition on January 25, requiring the city to review and improve upon its ADA compliance in regard to its thousands of curb cuts.

“This settlement will guarantee that Denver’s curb ramps are accessible to people with mobility disabilities,” said Timothy Fox, co-executive director of CREEC, in a news release. “It will make it much easier for people with mobility disabilities to get to and use government facilities, to find or get to jobs, to go shopping, to go to the doctor, to participate in community life, and to be with their friends and families.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act mandated that cities perform a comprehensive review of their sidewalks, and create a transition plan to make them “readily accessible” to people with disabilities. For all curbs altered or repaired after January 1, 1992, cities must bring them in line with the ADA standards for accessible design.

Denver, however, never performed such a review, leaving large swaths of the city inaccessible to people with mobility disabilities, the advocates alleged, who first approached the city about the issues in December 2013.

Under the agreement, the city will conduct a full review of all its sidewalks and ramps, to be completed by the end of 2017. It has also agreed to a goal of improving a minimum of 1,500 ramps per year.

In addition to the $10 million it spent on curb renovations last year, the city has agreed to allocate an additional $10 million for 2016.

“This is a monumental step toward ensuring Denver is an accessible and welcoming city,” Mayor Michael  Hancock said in the news release. “Not only has our city been able to catch up on critical curb ramp installation work, but we have a roadmap that will result in better, safer and more multimodal transportation choices for people with disabilities and other pedestrians.”

In October 2015, advocates filed suit against the city of Seattle, over curb ramp planning, and launched the #CrappyCurb social media campaign to highlight the problem. Two videos show the problem in Seattle, and the response to the #CrappyCurb campaign.