Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Justice Department Signs Agreement with Niagara Falls to Ensure Civic Access for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced an agreement with the city of Niagara Falls, N.Y., to improve access to all aspects of civic life for persons with disabilities. The agreement was reached under the Department’s Project Civic Access initiative to bring state and local governments into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This agreement is the 164th under Project Civic Access.

"Officials in Niagara Falls recognize that civic access is a civil right, and I applaud them for working to ensure that all citizens, including individuals with disabilities, can enjoy one of America’s most treasured and visited landmarks," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "This agreement helps mark the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and we are pleased to take this major step forward in our mission to improve accessibility nationwide."

Under the agreement announced today, the city of Niagara Falls will take several steps to improve access for persons with disabilities, including:

  • Making physical modifications to facilities so that parking, routes into the buildings, entrances, public telephones, restrooms, service counters and drinking fountains are accessible to individuals with disabilities;
  • Officially recognizing New York state’s telephone relay service, and training staff in using the city TTY relay service;
  • Continuing to ensure that the 9-1-1 emergency service TTY calls are answered as quickly as other calls received, that such calls are monitored for timing and accuracy if other calls are monitored, and that employees are trained and practiced in using a TTY to make and receive calls;
  • Ensuring that the city’s official Web site is accessible to persons with disabilities;
  • Develop a method for ensuring that voters with disabilities have an equal opportunity to vote by providing accessible voter registration locations and polling places, and by training poll workers on the rights of persons with disabilities and the practical aspects of assuring those rights;
  • Ensuring equal access to Niagara County’s emergency management programs and services for persons with disabilities, including preparation, notification, response and clean up; and
  • Implementing a plan on accessibility of sidewalks and curb cuts throughout the city.

Project Civic Access was initiated to ensure that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life. As part of the project, Justice Department investigators, attorneys and architects conduct on-site surveys of state and local government programs and facilities for the purpose of identifying modifications needed for compliance with ADA requirements. The agreements contain a plan setting out the specific steps a community will take to improve access for persons with disabilities.

People interested in finding out more about the ADA, today’s agreement with the city of Niagara Falls or the Department’s Project Civic Access initiative may find this information on the ADA Web site at http://www.ada.gov or may call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

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