Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Justice Department Signs Agreement with Kansas City, Missouri, to Ensure Civic Access for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced an agreement with Kansas City, Mo., to improve access to all aspects of civic life for people with disabilities.  The agreement is the 200th settlement 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).

“I commend Kansas City officials for their commitment to provide equal access to civic life for all residents and visitors with disabilities in what is the Justice Department’s milestone 200th Project Civic Access agreement,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department has positively impacted the lives of more than four and a half million individuals with disabilities through Project Civic Access, and as a result, the injustice of not being able to enter government buildings or participate in government programs, services and activities is becoming a thing of the past for Americans with disabilities.”

“We are committed to helping every resident fully participate in all Kansas City has to offer,” said Kansas City Mayor Sly James.  “Our city has historically been a leader on issues of inclusion and equal access, and I am proud we are once again demonstrating that commitment.  This agreement will ensure that the city of Kansas City can be explored and enjoyed, traversed and traveled by everyone.”
 
“Although not all of us are disabled today, any of us could become disabled tomorrow.  The signing of this agreement is not only a commitment to the disabled community, but also an act of conscience that strengthens the entire community,” said David H. Westbrook, Chair of the Kansas City Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities.  “We talk a lot about being one of the nation’s most livable cities.  Accessibility and livability are inseparable.  To everyone’s benefit, we will do all we can to support the mayor and city council in fulfilling this promise.”

As part of the PCA initiative, Justice Department investigators, attorneys and architects survey state and local government facilities, services and programs in communities across the country to identify the modifications needed for compliance with ADA requirements.  The agreements are tailored to address the steps each community must take to improve access.  PCA agreements typically include requirements to make physical modifications to facilities so that, among other elements, parking, routes into buildings, entrances, assembly areas, restrooms, service counters and drinking fountains are accessible to people with disabilities.  Other common provisions address effective communication (e.g., telephone communications), grievance procedures, polling places, emergency management procedures and policies, sidewalks, domestic violence programs, and ensuring that an entity’s official website and other web-based services are accessible to persons with disabilities.
 
 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 most actions to be completed within three years.  For the required accessibility modifications to sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, transportation stops and curb ramps, the city will work with the disability community to prioritize and complete these modifications within six years.  The department will actively monitor compliance with the agreement until it has confirmed that all required actions have been completed.
 
People interested in finding out more about the ADA, today’s agreement with Kansas City, the Project Civic Access initiative, or the ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments can access the ADA website at www.ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA information line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).  The agreement with Kansas City is available at www.ada.gov/Kansas_city_pca/kansas_city_pca_sa.htm, and a fact sheet on the agreement is available at www.ada.gov/Kansas_city_pca/kansas_city_pca_fctsht.htm.

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