Missing curb ramps violate Americans with Disabilities Act

2009 Settlement with Justice Department requires City of Atlanta to install curb ramps

No curb ramps at intersection of Monroe Drive & Park Drive

Curb ramps are missing at the intersection of Monroe Drive and Park, a key entrance to Piedmont Park.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires government agencies to install ramps wherever a curb creates barriers to sidewalks and intersections. It also requires sidewalks to be accessible to all users.

The U.S. Access Board audited the City of Atlanta in 2009. It’s findings: city streets violated numerous ADA requirements .

Most important to pedestrians: Atlanta had failed to install curb ramps at many intersections when it resurfaced streets since the ADA went into effect in 1992.

Atlanta settled with the U.S. Justice Department by agreeing to install or repair curb ramps by 2012 on all streets that had been resurfaced since 1992.

The deadline expired five years ago,  yet few ramps have been installed.

Despite repeated requests from PEDS, the Department of Public Works will not explain why. We’ll continue to pursue this information, even if it requires submitting a complaint to the Georgia Secretary of State.

Renew Atlanta programrenew atlanta website header

Atlanta’s Renew Atlanta bonds, which voters approved in 2015, dedicated $5 million to curb ramps. Better than nothing, but far less than the estimated $32 million backlog.

The Renew Atlanta program, which includes numerous resurfacing projects, is well underway. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that curb ramp work be completed prior to or at the same time as the rest of the project. Initially, many resurfaced streets lack well-designed curb ramps.

Sally Flocks, President & CEO of PEDS, serves on the Renew Atlanta and T-SPLOST Advisory Committee. In response to Sally’s request, Program Manager Faye DiMassimo directed contractors in a timely manner, as required by ADA.

Have you noticed missing or poorly designed curb ramps on recently resurfaced streets?

Many resurfacing projects are implemented by the Georgia Department of Transportation. And some within the City of Atlanta are implemented outside of the Renew Atlanta program.

And on these, contractors often cut corners. Our office is at the intersection of Peachtree Street and 17th Street – and it didn’t take long to notice that contractors failed to install curb ramps when they resurfaced several blocks of 17th Street and Inman Circle this summer.

Take Action!

Wheelchair user at curb ramp that isn't flush with road

For someone using a wheelchair, a one-inch gap between the road and the curb ramp feels like a mountain.

If you know of other intersections that failed to get curb ramps when they resurfaced during the past few years, please let us know.

Also let us know of poorly-designed ramps, such as ones with a gap between the travel lane and the bottom of the curb ramp. The gap may look like an inch, but to someone in a wheelchair, it’s a mountain.