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Report: Some City Curbs Miss The Cut For People With Disabilities

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A new report says parts of curbs in New York City aren't up to code for people with disabilities.

From a slope too steep, to crumbling, to potholes waiting at the bottom.

"Being forced to ride on the street of course is even more dangerous," said Edith Prentiss of the group Disabled in Action.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, a new report found 10 percent of the curb cuts on Broadway don't comply with specifications of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"More than once I've been out into an avenue thinking I was still on the sidewalk, and only when a car whizzed by my did I realize I was actually off the sidewalk," said Ken Stewart of Community Board 4.

Stewart is visually impaired and relies on bumpy ADA strips known as 'detectable warnings' to know when he's by the curb, about to step off. They're often missing from curb cuts.

On Tuesday, Stewart and several other disable New Yorkers and advocates joined Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to announce the findings of a new report.

Since September 2014, Brewer's staff and volunteers surveyed more than 1,300 spots where curb cuts are mandated by law, along Broadway from Bowling Green through Inwood.

They said only about 1,200 curb cuts could be located and measured. The remaining 142 curb cuts counted as missing or obstructed by barriers like garbage cans or scaffolding.

City code states that property owners are responsible, but the Department of Transportation is in charge of inspecting and notifying property owners when repairs are needed.

"The city should be paying more attention to the curb cuts, and making the owners do it. You don't hear a lot of oversight over curb cuts," Brewer said.

A spokeswoman for the mayor's office said the city's streets are safer than ever before.

"Out 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," she said.

The city also said upgrades are planned at 400 corners in these neighborhoods. If property owners don't make repairs within 40 days the city can hire someone to do it and then bill the property owner.



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