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Even Historic Attractions Not Always Exempt from ADA Compliance Laws

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Even many of America’s more historic attractions and institutions are still subject to ADA compliance rules.

This was on display recently when several men with disabilities filed a lawsuit against the City of New Orleans, its Regional Transit Authority and Transdev (a private transportation company) for failing to meet ADA standards for access to the historic St. Charles streetcar.

The men cited the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act in their suit, which claims the streetcar is completely inaccessible to anyone who has disabilities. The problem here is twofold: the streetcars themselves are not accessible, and neither are any of the curbs along St. Charles Avenue, as they do not have curb cuts that would give people in wheelchairs the ability to easily navigate the blocks.

An ongoing issue

This isn’t the first lawsuit of this type to hit the city of New Orleans in recent years. The inaccessibility of a lot of key transportation infrastructure in the city has been a major point of focus. One big problem: the city buses in New Orleans are by far the most frequently accessed public transportation infrastructure in the city, but only a shocking 5.7 percent of stops throughout the city are fully compliant with ADA standards.

How the ADA applies to public transportation has also been a national conversation, as companies like Uber and Lyft have been the subject of criticism regarding their lack of enforcement of disability access.

This particular case is extremely unique because of the historic nature of the St. Charles streetcar. Updating accessibility, according to the city, would “significantly alter the historic character” of the streetcars. There are exceptions in the law for updating historic vehicles, and the city will argue the streetcar falls within those exceptions.

It will be interesting to see how this case unfolds. ADA compliance lawsuits have been becoming more and more common throughout the nation, with courts tending to side with those seeking greater compliance. The biggest issue will be whether or not the streetcar is exempt from having to make these updates.

For more information about how you or your customers can better comply with ADA standards, contact our ADA sign experts at Erie Custom Signs.

Filed Under: ADA News

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