Legislation Introduced on Sidewalk Accessibility

Councilmember Ben Kallos. Image credit: William Alatriste/NYC Council

Councilmember Ben Kallos. Image credit: William Alatriste/NYC Council

Bill would increase penalties on property owners for failing to maintain pedestrian curb ramps.  On June 26, 2015, New York City Councilmember Ben Kallos introduced a bill that would increase responsibility on the property owner for maintaining pedestrian curb ramps connecting City sidewalks to crosswalks.  A study by the Center for the Independence of the Disabled New York found that out of 1,000 curbs located in lower Manhattan, 75 percent were hazardous for disabled residents.

The bill, Intro 840, would couple with section 7-210 of the New York City Administrative Code, passed in 2003 which moved liability for sidewalk maintenance away from the City and onto the relevant property owner.  The Department of Transportation is responsible for installing the curb ramps and the property owner must maintain them.  Intro 840 would increase penalties on the property owner for failing in their maintenance.  If a property owner fails to comply with either requirement, the City will perform the work at the property owner’s cost.  If a property owner causes their ramp to become inaccessible, the owner will have thirty days to correct the problem or receive a $250 fine, with an additional daily $100 fine for every ten days the problem goes uncorrected.

In a statement, Councilmember Kallos said “I have seen firsthand the dangers and barriers of hazardous sidewalks through my mother, who is a senior in a wheelchair. The city cannot stand by when seniors and disabled New Yorkers cannot travel their own city streets because of unsafe conditions.”

City Council: Intro 0840-2015 (Jun. 26, 2015).

By:  Michael Twomey (Michael is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2014).

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