County Agrees To Spend $10 Million In Bus Stop Upgrades To Avoid Lawsuit

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express (subscribe)

FORT LAUDERDALE--It's been a long three years, but disability rights advocate Carlisle Wilson finally got a commitment from Broward County to make thousands of area bus stops accessible to passengers with disabilities.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Broward County commissioners agreed on Tuesday to spend $10 million over the five years to fix steep slopes and rocky spots around some bus stops, and to construct new stops that would comply with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

Transit officials had admitted that 1,041 of the county's 5,000 bus stops are not accessible, and that another 2,038 allow some access but do not meet federal standards. Additionally, only two of the 22 stops along a Water Taxi ferry route are accessible to people who use wheelchairs.

"We should have been in compliance by now, but we never quite reached that point," Mayor Ben Graber said. "The county and former commissions had dropped the ball on this."

In addition to fixing the bus stops, the county agreed to pay $437,500 to cover Wilson's legal fees and court costs.

Wilson founded the nonprofit law firm Advocating Disability Rights, Inc. in July 2000 to seek enforcement of the ADA. Since then, he and his legal team have filed more than 300 discrimination lawsuits against businesses in the local area alleging violations of the 16-year-old federal law.

The commissioners' vote effectively stops the federal lawsuit Wilson's firm had filed against the county and Water Taxi, Inc.

"Broward to improve disability access at bus stops; decision ends lawsuit" (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

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March 03, 2006 - InclusionDailyNews Department | Email this story


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