On April 7, 2016 United Spinal Association and New York City agreed to expand a ground-breaking 2002 settlement in a class action lawsuit that requires the city to install and upgrade wheelchair curb cuts at all of its street corners.
“Now that the great majority of curb ramps have been installed, we felt it was time to revise our agreement. We are glad the City agreed to work with us,” said James Weisman, United Spinal’s CEO.
Under the new agreement, the City will continue to spend $20 million per year and will spend another $87.6 million through Fiscal Year 2017 to finish installing and upgrading curb ramps City-wide — all in addition to the $243 million that the City has spent under the 2002 settlement to ramp 97 percent of its 158,738 corners, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The 2016 settlement arose out of disputes raised by United Spinal Association with the City over implementation of the 2002 Settlement concerning issues such as the installation of curb ramps at the 3 percent of corners in the City remaining to be ramped (many of which are in high-construction and/or high-density areas), and the need to upgrade curb ramps that complied with the ADA when they were installed but are no longer ADA-compliant.
To resolve those disputes, the 2016 Settlement requires the City to continue to spend $20 million per year to install curb ramps, augment those expenditures with $37.6 million in FY 2016 and $37.6 million in FY 2017 to upgrade existing curb ramps City-wide and provide $11.5 million in FY 2016 to upgrade existing ramps in high-construction and/or high density areas.
As 97 percent of City street corners are now ramped, the City will no longer use neighborhood-by-neighborhood “blitz construction” to install ramps, but will install and upgrade curb ramps, as needed, on corners adjacent to streets that are being resurfaced.