On June 10, 2021, GBDH, along with Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC), Disability Rights Maryland (DRM), and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), filed a lawsuit in federal court against the City of Baltimore for its failure to properly install and maintain curb ramps and sidewalks in the City.
These violations severely impact the ability of people with mobility disabilities to access sidewalks and curb ramps, making it difficult or impossible for them to fully and equally participate in civic life in Baltimore.
Baltimore’s own data shows that there are systemic barriers to the accessibility of the City’s pedestrian right-of-way. In 2019, a multi-phase evaluation of its curb ramps showed that only approximately 1.3% of the 37,806 surveyed curb ramps comply with the ADA. Although the focus of the 2019 survey was on curb ramps, notes from that survey document widespread problems with sidewalks, including sidewalks that were damaged or too narrow, which can make them unusable by people who use wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility aids, so that people with mobility disabilities are forced to travel in the street with cars.
The lawsuit asks for a court order requiring the City to bring its sidewalks and curb ramps into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- Washington Examiner: Wheelchair Users Sue Baltimore Over “Widespread” Violations of Federal Accessibility Requirements | 06/12/2021
- Roads & Bridges: Lawsuit Filed Against City of Baltimore Over Accessibility of Curb Ramps, Sidewalks | 06/14/2021
- WMAR: City Forms Task Force to Address Alleged ADA Violations Raised in Class Action Lawsuit | 06/15/2021
- Baltimore Sun: Wheelchair Users File Class-Action Lawsuit, Saying Baltimore Sidewalks Fail to Meet ADA Requirements | 06/16/2021
- Next City: In Baltimore, Disability Advocates Are Suing Over Sidewalk Conditions | 07/22/2021
- Baltimore Brew: Fed Up With Baltimore’s Non-compliance With the ADA, Wheelchair Users Sue | 07/25/2021
- WYPR: 88.1 FM: Still Fighting for Rights: 31 Years of ADA | 07/26/2021
- Streets Blog USA: Why City Sidewalks Still Miss the ADA Mark | 07/28/2021
- Time Magazine: Reluctant Towns, Cities and States Are Being Dragged Into Court to Fix Sidewalks for People With Disabilities | 10/12/2021