You probably don’t think about the sidewalk too much, and understandably so. But for people with disabilities, the sidewalk is a very important guide that alerts them to potential dangers while also giving them a safe and adequate path to get from point A to point B.
That’s what makes a new report about the state of the sidewalks in New York City. According to the report, roughly 10 percent of the city’s “curb cuts” — ramps leading down from a sidewalk to the road that often utilize a patch of bumpy tiling — do not conform with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The issues with the curbs vary from location to location, but you can probably guess a few of them. Some are missing those important bumpy tiles that alert people with disabilities that the sidewalk is ending. Other curb cuts are too steep or are falling apart. Others still are either obstructed or have added dangers around them (such as potholes or cracks in the pavement).
Property owners are actually responsible for these curbs, as per city code. However, many sidewalks remain in a dilapidated and unfit condition. The city has the option to alert the property owners to the problem, and then if the owners don’t fix the issue in a timely manner, the city can step in and fix the sidewalks and bill the property owners for the cost.
This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Everyone has a right to a safe sidewalk. There is no reason for these issues to persist.
Source: CBS New York, “Report: Some City Curbs Miss The Cut For People With Disabilities,” July 28, 2015