Colorado Springs – The City of Colorado Springs has settled a class action lawsuit by committing to installing over 15,000 accessible curb ramps throughout the city in the next 14 years. Curb ramps provide people with mobility disabilities a safe way to get on and off sidewalks as they travel through the pedestrian right of way.
People with disabilities are the largest minority group in the country. Census figures estimate that 56.7 million, or 1 in 5 Americans, has a disability. In Colorado Springs alone, there are approximately 24,000 people with mobility disabilities who use wheelchairs, walkers, scooters or other mobility devices to get around. Missing, broken or poorly maintained curb ramps prevent people with mobility disabilities from safely using sidewalks, crosswalks and other walkways to participate in daily activities like getting to work or going to school.
“I appreciate not only that this agreement will allow me to get to and from work more efficiently, but also that, when I find a problem, Colorado Springs has a system set up to resolve it. I look forward to my increased independence,” said Paul Spotts, one of the plaintiffs. Sharon King, another plaintiff, explains, “It’s frustrating when I am just trying to do my errands and I cannot get across a street because there is no curb ramp. I’m so excited that we have been able to reach this agreement with Colorado Springs so that I can get where I need to go without these barriers, just like everyone else.”
“Federal and state disability access laws were enacted decades ago to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to fully participate in civic life,” said Tim Fox, plaintiffs’ counsel and co-founder of the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center. “Today, we stand together with the City of Colorado Springs to fulfill the promise of those laws by ensuring that people with disabilities can travel independently throughout their communities.” Julia Campins, plaintiff’s counsel with Campins Benham-Baker said, “The ability to move freely around town is such a fundamental part of independence. We are excited to be working with Colorado Springs so that all of its residents and visitors can enjoy such freedom.”
“We look forward to continuing the City of Colorado Springs’ existing commitment to improving access for people of all abilities across our great City, and the commitment to installing and retrofitting thousands of curb ramps only furthers this effort,” said Travis Easton, Public Works Director for the City of Colorado Springs. “Between this commitment, the updated ADA Transition Plan, and the many well-attended community conversations on accessibility, the City continues to work hard to study the opportunities and work to increase accessibility.”
“City Council approved this settlement in the best interests of our residents and to further our ongoing efforts to make our City welcoming and accessible to all people, regardless of ability,” said City Council President Richard Skorman. “I was pleased to vote in favor of this settlement in open session per the terms of the new process, along with many fellow City Councilors.”