Disability Rights Advocates and the Disability Rights Legal Center filed a class action lawsuit in federal court June 4, accusing the city of Long Beach, California of failing to make its sidewalks and pedestrian rights of way accessible to people who use wheelchairs, scooters and other devices for their mobility disabilities.
The complaint details a plethora of violations, ranging from a systematic failure to fix “uneven and/or crumbling pavement,” “remove protruding and/or moveable obstructions,” maintain a “sufficiently wide path of travel,” and correct “excessive slopes and cross-slopes,” among other allegations.
“Persons who have mobility disabilities must choose between remaining segregated from significant kinds of daily activities – including visiting public facilities, places of public accommodation, or friends, and accessing public transit stops – and thereby remaining safe, or risking injury or death by traveling on or around inaccessible pedestrian rights of way,” the lawsuit states. “The lack of access to the City’s system of pedestrian rights of way deprives people who have mobility disabilities of the basic right to travel independently and prevents them from being fully integrated into community life.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, seeks to compel the city to remedy the alleged violations, which were brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as analogous California law.
“This litigation will require the City to make changes to its sidewalks that it should have made decades ago,” said Paula Pearlman, executive director of the Disability Rights Legal Center, in a news release. “It’s a shame that it’s going to take litigation to ensure that everyone has access to the fundamental civic right to travel freely and safely, but we’re confident that this case will bring about justice for the mobility disabled community in Long Beach.”