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Less than 10 percent of Manhattan curbs meet federal standards for disabled: analysis

Less than 10% of Manhattan curb ramps measured in an analysis met federal disability standards, the Manhattan borough president said Tuesday.

Volunteers from Gale Brewer's office measured 1,209 of the curbs along Broadway from lower Manhattan to Inwood, but found just 9.5% followed the American with Disabilities Act.

"If fewer than 10 percent of our curb cuts are up to code and accessible on our longest, most recognizable commercial street, we have a problem," said Brewer, noting the act's recent 25th anniversary.

More than 140 were missing ramps, which can lead to people in wheelchairs going out of their way to use a different curb or unsafely going onto the street, the report said.

Other ramps were blocked by potholes and barriers like garbage cans and scaffolding. Over 300 were so steep they broke federal law. Another 291 were crumbling, making the concrete dangerous for people in wheelchairs or pedestrians with poor sight.

Building owners are responsible for maintaining curb ramps, but the DOT inspects sidewalks and must require owners to make repairs, the report added.

City Hall said that $11.5 million was added to the DOT's budget this year to reconstruct ramps at 2,600 corners, and 22 new staffers have been added for sidewalk inspection. Citywide, 97% of corners have ramps, the DOT said.

The city will also spend $46 million per year on overall sidewalk repairs over four years.

"Our streets are safer and more accessible than ever before, and we're aggressively expanding new avenues of accessibility for New Yorkers with disabilities everywhere from street corners to taxicabs," said mayoral spokeswoman Rosemary Boeglin. "We are investing as never before to make a more accessible city a reality."


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