Authored Articles & Publications Oct 02, 2014

Guidance Lacking for On-Street Disabled Parking

BB&K Attorney Michael Maurer Explores Recent Ninth Circuit Ruling Regarding Cities' Responsibilities for On-Street Disabled Parking

By Michael J. Maurer

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently ruled in Fortyune v. City of Lomita, 2014 DJDAR 12344 (Sept. 25, 2014), that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires cities to provide on-street parking that is accessible to people with disabilities. Though handicapped parking is commonplace, the existing design standards only govern parking within facilities, not on-street parking.

Fortyune is the first case to find an obligation under the ADA, even in the absence of corresponding design standards.

The plaintiff in Fortyune was a paraplegic who alleged that he experienced "great difficulty, discomfort, and even fear for his safety" because of a lack of accessible on-street parking. The city moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that, without specific regulations targeting on-street parking, the city could not have any obligations under the ADA. The Ninth Circuit found that, despite the lack of accessibility standards, on-street parking is a normal function of a city and therefore must be made accessible. In essence, the decision in Fortyune interprets the ADA as requiring a general obligation to make all public services accessible, and therefore it is not limited to specific regulations.

The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for developing regulations to implement the ADA. As part of this duty, the DOJ adopts specific technical and scoping standards for the design and construction of public facilities. All public facilities that have been constructed or altered since 1991- when the ADA regulations first became effective - must be built and constructed in conformance with these standards.

Click here to read the entire article published on Oct. 2, 2014 in the Daily Journal (subscription required).

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