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Disabled Woman Claims Parking Meters Are Too Tall

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - It is an issue for a local woman in a wheelchair, but could be an issue for city taxpayers in general depending on how a federal lawsuit over the height of controls at city parking kiosks is resolved in court.

Operating the kiosk and reading the screen is an issue for Debra Stemmler.

Current guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act require the controls to be no higher than 48 inches above the ground.

We checked a number of kiosks and found that the top of the keyboard was at 48 inches, but the final green "confirm" button was 52 inches high.

KDKA's Harold Hayes asked her, "When you have to confirm can you reach the confirm button?"

"No, I'd have to confirm down here," she said, pointing to a lower confirm button for the disabled. "Now this one does work if this panel is activated."

We also found that some, not all, of the kiosks have disabled-accessible "confirm" buttons that are lower than the original height, which appears to be an effort to address the problem.

But Stemmler says among many meetings of the City-County Disability Task Force, the manufacturer made a startling admission.

"The second meeting they had the manufacturer rep there and he said we do make ADA compliant meters, but we were told you guys didn't need those," she says. "So there's a disconnect there."

The kiosks were installed at a cost of about $7 million two years ago.

A federal court's interpretation of the city's efforts could be costly, depending on how the case is settled.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is civil rights legislation," she says. "It's not a set of building codes."

So far, no comment from the Pittsburgh Parking Authority about the pending lawsuit.

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