On May 7, 2018, GBDH, along with co-counsel Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center and Disability Law Center, sent a letter to the City of Boston on behalf of residents and visitors with mobility disabilities who had been denied access to the City’s sidewalk system because of missing and inadequate curb ramps. The letter alerted the City to its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability access laws and proposed that the parties collaborate on a solution rather than litigating. The City agreed, and for the next three years, GBDH and co-counsel engaged in productive settlement talks.
Those talks culminated in a landmark settlement that requires the City to install or upgrade an average of 1,630 curb ramps each year until a compliant curb ramp is present at every location in the City’s pedestrian right of way where required by law. Based on the parties’ current estimates, this is likely to occur by the end of 2030.
The settlement also requires the City to conduct a comprehensive survey of its curb ramps, already underway, which will further refine the parties’ understandings of the work that is necessary to provide full and equal access to people with mobility disabilities. In addition, the City must maintain a curb ramp request system that allows people with mobility disabilities to report missing curb ramps and other problems. It must keep all curb ramps in good working condition and provide regular reports to GBDH and co-counsel, who will continuously verify the City’s compliance with the terms of the agreement.
On July 12, 2021, the Honorable Richard G. Stearns in the District of Massachusetts court granted preliminary approval of this class action settlement. A fairness hearing will be held on October 19, 2021. For more information, please see the press release issued jointly by GBDH and co-counsel along with the City.
If you are an individual with a mobility disability who resides in or visits the City of Boston, read this Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement about curb ramps in the Boston pedestrian right of way.