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Disabled Layton man sues UDOT

He says resurfaced street near home lacks curb ramps

SHARE Disabled Layton man sues UDOT

A Layton man and the Disability Law Center in Salt Lake City filed a lawsuit against the Utah Department of Transportation on Friday, alleging a portion of a street the department resurfaced last year has no curb ramps for wheelchairs.

Ronald Decker said he would like to use sidewalks near his home along Gentile Street, "but physical barriers such as curbs at corners prevent him from doing so," according to the complaint.

A portion of the street was resurfaced during 2000, and the suit says that UDOT was "required to make it accessible and usable by persons who have disabilities" under the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990.

The lawsuit identifies seven corners on Gentile Street that "contain barriers that prevent safe travel along adjacent sidewalks by persons with disabilities who, for example, use wheelchairs or walkers, or whose disability causes them to be unsteady on their feet."

Disability Law Center attorney John Pace said most people understand that the ADA "means what it says."

"If you resurface or alter a road, you have to put in curb ramps," he said.

Pace claims he's tried negotiating with UDOT about the street for two months.

Department spokeswoman Amanda Covington said Friday the agency could not comment on the case, since it had not yet been served with the suit.

Decker is not seeking any "monetary relief" but argues in his suit that UDOT has, in effect, confined him to his home. He is asking a judge to order UDOT to make the changes in the sidewalks.

Pace said lawsuits like Decker's are not common but that may be because the public isn't aware that the ADA applies to roadways.

"If people know of streets that have been resurfaced or altered in some significant way, they can give us a call and let us know what's going on," he said.

E-mail: mtitze@desnews.com