October 25, 2002
I am writing as the City of Los Angeles' ADA Compliance Officer to provide input
regarding the proposed Public Rights of Way ADA Accessibility Guidelines.
The Department on Disability (where I am employed) is the only autonomous such
entity in the Nation. As such, we work closely with the over 40 City departments
to ensure that Los Angeles is in full compliance with the Americans with
Disabilities Act. We serve thousands of constituents with disabilities annually
and provide technical assistance, training and support to all City departments.
We have completed almost all of the projects listed in the City's 1999
Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan including installation of 22,500 curb ramps
throughout the City.
With this as background, I would like to briefly comment on the proposed
guidelines. Let me first indicate that I attended the public hearings in
Portland and was extremely impressed with the members of the Board and the
overall tone of the discussion. I should mention that I spoke as a
representative of the American Council of the Blind, on whose Board of Directors
I currently serve. My comments here are on behalf of the City and I hope,
represent our position fairly.
Overall, we support and endorse the proposed guidelines as written. This
document appears to strike a fair balance between the concerns of governmental
entities and the needs of persons with disabilities. We understand completely
the fact that drafting these guidelines is a monumental effort in compromise and
believe the Access Board did a good job in balancing the interests of all
I would like, however, to suggest clarification in two areas:
1. Several years ago the City of Philadelphia was found to have violated the ADA
by failing to install curb ramps when performing routine street resurfacing
activities. Most jurisdictions conduct such routine street maintenance work
yearly, the City of Los Angeles will be resurfacing in excess of 200 miles of
roadways this fiscal year. While perhaps not appropriate in the Scoping
Requirements section, a more detailed definition of what constitutes an
"alteration" would apppear useful. Presumably, the Access Board will issue a
technical assistance manual along with the guidelines in order to assist
jurisdictions in implementation.
2. Several individuals expressed concern--both pro and con--regarding the use of
elevators to facilitate travel through overpasses and underpasses. From the City
of Los Angeles' perspective, the question of accessibility must be balanced
against the safety of the public. While we believe that where such elevators are
required, we also feel that they should not attract crime. Therefore, we propose
using elevators equipped with plexiglass or clear plastic panels, or lift
devices that are open to view (although enclosed).
I look forward to reviewing the final document and providing additional comments
as necessary. Thank you in advance for the opportunity to offer input from the
Department on Disability.
Mitch Pomerantz, ADA Compliance Officer
Los Angeles City Department on Disability