Settlement orders Seattle to fix, install 22,500 sidewalk ramps

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SEATTLE - Seattle will have to fix or install more than 22,000 sidewalks over the next two decades, according to a report Tuesday morning.

It's part of a settlement to a federal class-action lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed in 2015 by three men claiming the city was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In Pioneer Square, there’s a perfect example of the challenge people in wheelchairs face in parts of Seattle.

At Yesler and Second, there's no wheelchair ramp into the crosswalk where there are somewhat tall curbs.

There's ramps at other nearby crosswalks, but on the other side of Yesler, people in wheelchairs or those who use walkers have to go into the driveway of the parking garage to get up onto the curb.


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The people who filed the class action lawsuit say there are thousands of such scenarios in Seattle, where people with disabilities don't have legal access to crosswalks.

Under the settlement reported by the Seattle Times, the City of Seattle agrees to build or fix 22,500 sidewalk ramps.

That's 1,250 every year for the next 18 years, at a cost of nearly $300 million.

That dollar amount may drop dramatically with a new expedited process to get the ramps completed.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has been putting in new sidewalk ramps even before the lawsuit was filed.

But the settlement, which still has to be approved by a judge, would speed up the process.

Meanwhile, members of an advisory group for King County's Metro Access plan to testify at a committee meeting Tuesday morning.

Last month, we reported about a scathing audit that says King County Metro service for people with disabilities is expensive and inefficient.

The group says it’s concerned those issues aren't being addressed.

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