The Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania and the National Passenger Railroad Corporation announced an agreement March 27 to improve disability accessibility at an Amtrak station in the western suburbs of Philadelphia.
“We are thrilled to reach this agreement with Amtrak to expedite its plans to achieve full access for people who use wheelchairs or have other mobility disabilities at Paoli Station,” said Rocco Iacullo, an attorney with the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, in a news release. “Accessible transit stations make it easier for everyone – not just persons with mobility disabilities but also parents with strollers, senior citizens, and others — to go to work, attend school, get to medical appointments, and live full lives.”
The agreement creates a two-year timetable for the NPRC, which manages the nation’s approximately 400 Amtrak stations, to install level platforms, as well as new accessible parking, bathrooms and paths of travel, at the station.
The Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against NRPC regarding the station’s accessibility in 2012, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The news comes on the heels of a major report from the National Disability Rights Network, released in October 2013, that examined accessibility at 94 stations in 25 states. The report found that 95 percent of the surveyed stations contained one or more major architectural barrier for people with disabilities.
When Congress passed the ADA in 1990, it gave the NPRC a 20-year timetable to make the Amtrak system fully disability accessible. In 2010, the NRPC reported that it had fallen woefully short, with just 10 percent of its stations in compliance.
The Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania is part of the federally funded protection and advocacy system and a member of the National Disability Rights Network, NDRN.