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6717Re: [CF] discrimination

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  • dubluth <dubluth@yahoo.com>
    Jan 1 5:51 PM
      --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, "Robert J. Matter" <rjmatter@p...> wrote:
      > "dubluth " wrote:
      > >
      > > Ownership of that public space
      > > was effectively transfered to private hands - specifically to the
      > > landlords whose tenents parked over what was otherwise a
      > > sidewalk.
      > >
      > > Bill
      > I just spoke with a lawyer the other day asking if it would be feasible to sue two cities under the ADA because the only two streets that connect the cities have no sidewalks. Bascially the answer was no.
      > I think another form of discrimination is when bridges disallow bike and pedestrian traffic.
      > -Bob Matter
      > -----------

      It seems that governments have considerable leeway in determining what forms of mobility and access they choose to facilitate and encourage. It has to be up to us and other pedestrian advocates to see that any pro-pedestrian laws and regulations are enforced, and that better laws and regulations are enacted. I didn't carry out my activist role in the example I cited. In part, I was affected by the indifference and puzzlement of aquanitances to whome I expressed my gripe.

      At least the ADA does require wheelchair access between parking lots and buildings that serve the public. I don't know what the Act requires beyond that. A good question would be whether access between buildings within a city is required. If reasonable pedestrian access exists and curbcuts are present, wheelchair accessability is basicly met.

      Pedestrian access is very dicey in parts of most American cities, so if wheelchair access between public buildings were an ADA requirement, most jurisdictions would be in violation. Your question was about the liability of cities regarding access between cities. It doesn't seem that cities can have much say in whether sidewalks (or anything) are built outside their boundaries. Unless the cities borders touch, counties or states would be the jurisdictions that may have to comply.

      Claims of discrimination may be used in our favor or against us. It is only because of my perspective that I don't think of discrimination as the major issue. In theory we have a choice of transportation modes. If the only thing available is roads that exclude human powered transportation, we simply need to get in a car or truck to attain mobility. An automobile operator may wish to claim discrimination because her vehicle is excluded from a pedestrian mall. She must park the thing and walk or wheelchair to gain access. The destructiveness and wastefulness of automobile transportation are the main issues and are actually very good justifications for not facilitating automobile access.

      That said, we should advocate for all of our pedestrian rights to counter some of the pro-car biases of governments and businesses. That may require that we attack each access denial situation individually. As will often be appropriate, we should educate those fighting pedestrian access on how it is really to their benefit.

      Bill Carr
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