This week, a federal judge in Portland approved a settlement agreement to make Oregon street crossings safer for people with disabilities. The state Department of Transportation has 15 years to comply.
A disability rights organization sued ODOT after receiving numerous complaints from people with disabilities about unsafe or inaccessible street crossings. Disability Rights Oregon Attorney Tom Stenson says, for example, he went out with a Roseburg resident who was having trouble getting around town.
Stenson: “There was an on-ramp to I-5 down in Roseburg where it was very difficult and very unsafe to cross. There were ramps where the slopes were too steep for somebody to get up in a wheelchair, where they ran a risk of slipping backwards, of sliding down the ramp and into traffic.”
The settlement compels ODOT to bring street curb ramps and pedestrian signals to legal standards required by federal law. It gives the agency 15 years to complete the improvements on state roads and highways. The settlement does not apply to county or city roads.