The Justice Department today announced an agreement with the City of West Columbia, S.C., to improve access to all aspects of civic life for persons with disabilities. The agreement was reached under Project Civic Access (PCA), the department’s wide-ranging initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“The ADA is a passport to our nation’s cities for people with disabilities. This agreement ensures that all people have access to West Columbia’s parks and other programs, services and activities,” said Eve L. Hill, Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. “Access to our cities is a basic civil right and the ADA is shaping the way our country and its people think inclusively about themselves and people with disabilities.”
As part of the PCA initiative, department staff, including investigators and architects, survey local government facilities, services and programs across the country. The purpose of the surveying is to identify modifications needed in order for a city to comply with the ADA requirements. The agreements address the steps each community must take to improve access.
Under the agreement announced today, West Columbia will take important steps to improve access for people with disabilities, such as:
• Physically modifying facilities surveyed by the department so that parking, routes into buildings, entrances, service areas and counters, restrooms, public telephones and drinking fountains are accessible to people with disabilities;
• Surveying the city’s other facilities and programs and making modifications where necessary to achieve compliance with ADA requirements;
• Complying with the ADA’s architectural accessibility requirements when the city builds or alters its buildings and outdoor facilities;
• Posting, publishing and distributing notices to inform members of the public of the provisions of the ADA and their applicability to the city’s programs, services and activities;
• Officially recognizing Relay South Carolina telephone service as a key means of communicating with individuals who are deaf, are hard-of-hearing, or have speech impairments and training staff in using the relay service for telephone communications;
• Developing a method for providing information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the city’s accessible services, activities and programs;
• Posting an online policy that its web pages will be accessible, creating a process for implementation and ensuring that all new and modified web pages are accessible; and
• Implementing a comprehensive plan to improve the accessibility of sidewalks and curb cuts throughout the city.
Today’s agreement was reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments. The agreement requires the remediation actions to be completed within 3 years. The department will actively monitor compliance with the agreement throughout this timeframe.
People interested in finding out more about the ADA, today’s agreement with the city of West Columbia, the Project Civic Access initiative, or the ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for state and local governments may access the ADA Web page at www.ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).