The National Federation of the Blind of Ohio and Access Center for Independent Living filed a federal lawsuit December 15, targeting a mall where the nearest bus stop is more than 600 feet – or two football fields – away.
“The (Americans with Disabilities Act) prioritizes access for people with disabilities to get in the front door, but if they cannot even get to the front door, that right does them no good. With this lawsuit, we are asking the federal court to require that the Dayton Mall change this discriminatory policy and practice,” said Jason Boylan, an attorney with Disability Rights Ohio, which is representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit along with the Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, in a news release.
Prior to 2003, the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority routed seven different bus routes to within a few steps of the mall’s entrance. That year, it rerouted four of the bus routes and the bus stop for the other three routes was moved to the back corner of the Mall’s rear parking lot.
The parking lot contains no cross walks or other protective measures, creating a variety of safety hazards for people with disabilities, who also disproportionately rely on buses for transportation.
“People who are blind or have mobility impairments now must make unnecessary bus transfers and endure an exhausting and dangerous trip dodging cars through the Mall parking lot just to gain access to the Mall entrance,” the lawsuit states. “As a result, individuals with such disabilities have been effectively excluded from accessing the Mall and are being treated as second class citizens.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, names WP Glimcher Inc., the Dayton Mall and multiple stores located in the facility, including Sears and Macy’s, as defendants.
A video about the lawsuit from ABC 22 can be seen here.
Disability Rights Ohio and Disability Rights Washington, the publisher of Rooted in Rights, are the designated protection and advocacy agencies in Ohio and Washington, respectively, and are members of the National Disability Rights Network.