The U.S. Department of Justice and the City of Aberdeen, Washington, today reached a settlement regarding areas of the city that were found to be non-compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. The areas of non-compliance came to light in 2019 when an Aberdeen resident who has impaired sight filed a complaint regarding obstacles on city sidewalks. An investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed the obstructions, and the city has agreed to make changes–either removing the obstacles or creating barriers that will allow a person who is visually impaired to be aware of the obstacle by use of a cane.
“I’m pleased the City of Aberdeen is working quickly to make these modifications to ensure that their streets and sidewalks are accessible for all,” said U.S. Attorney Moran. “Our ability to enforce the ADA is greatly served when members of our community alert us to areas of non-compliance. This complainant helped further accessibility by alerting the city and our office to obstacles that may pass unnoticed for sighted residents, but can badly injure those with visual impairments.”
According to the settlement, at five different intersections, the light poles on the streets contain boxes that protrude more than 12 inches into the circulation path at the intersection. Because the boxes stick out so far from the pole, a person using a cane to navigate could walk right into the metal box. The city is placing low-hanging barriers around the boxes so that canes will register the obstacle.
In four other locations, tree limbs overhang city streets below the 80-inch height minimum set by the ADA. The city will be trimming those trees so that the branches will no longer be an obstacle for those who may not be able to see them as they walk down the street.
Under the terms of the settlement, the City of Aberdeen will make all the modifications by August 1, 2020, and will report back to the U.S. Attorney’s Office on the work. If there are no other issues of ADA non-compliance over the next year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will close the file.
The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Christina Fogg.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or [email protected].