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Despite City's Vow That Wheelchair Access Would Be Restored By Now, Printers Row Construction Project Still Blocking Sidewalks

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mike Ervin just wants the city to live up to its word.

Construction blocking off wheelchair access on the block he calls home was supposed to be finished days ago, but it's not, and it isn't the first time the city sent mixed messages on the project.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Vince Gerasole dug in to find out why.

A construction project near Ervin's home in Printers Row has completely fenced off north-south access on two ends of his block.

"There's no ramp, there's no asphalt, there's no nothing," Ervin said. "All I can do is turn around. I can't go through at all."

After repeated calls to the Chicago Department of Transportation, the project was issued a citation.

The city said its permit expired on Sept. 6, when "full accessibility will be restored," but a week past that date, it sure doesn't look like anything has changed, including Ervin's frustration.

"Whether anybody with a mobility disability can get around is of no consequence to them," Ervin said.

Ervin said he gave the city the benefit of the doubt, and didn't call CBS 2 until almost a week past the deadline.

"It makes me feel betrayed," he said.

It's the second time Ervin and CBS 2 have encountered contradicting information from the city.

"I could maybe squeeze by, but it's so narrow, that I risk falling off the curb," Ervin said.

Following initial calls about the project last month, CBS 2 was first told the contractor "is making improvements to widen the pedestrian space and improve access."

Instead, the developer completely blocked off the sidewalks.

"They still need to make it accessible," Ervin said.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires accommodations in situations like this.

"There's a solution to it. A very simple ramp would take care of it," said Ervin.

Following requests from CBS 2, the Chicago Department of Transportation sent an inspector to the construction site on Thursday, issuing two citations to the contractor for blocked sidewalks. The city also indicated more citations would be issued until the situation is remedied.

However, looking at the construction site, Ervin said the city should know that might not be anytime soon.

"They should at least be honest about – if it is going to be messed up like that and if they are going to continue to ignore the law – how long it's going to be that way," he said.

CDOT did not respond to questions on how expired permits are typically policed, or how long the area would remain under construction.

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