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LA Metro to comply with ADA, improve Union Station access for persons with disabilities

a blind man with guide dog
Photo: Dreamstime

Following an investigation that found Los Angeles Union Station was not accessible to persons with disabilities, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) entered into a settlement agreement that requires the transit agency to remedy violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The United States Attorney’s Office announced the settlement agreement that resolves an investigation of Union Station under Title II of ADA. The investigation revealed that Metro, which is responsible for Union Station, failed to make the facility readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs. Station facilities include the station structure, the platform and any parking facility.

Title II of the ADA prohibits public entities from discriminating against any individual on the basis of disability, including by excluding such individual from participation in or denying such individual the benefits of the services, programs or activities of the public entity.

Los Angeles Union Station is the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States. The station, which opened in 1939 and serves as a major transportation hub for Southern California, was found to have a series of accessibility issues, including wide gaps in walkways, a passenger loading zone that did not have a compliant curb ramp, various signage issues, and other ADA violations.

While the government’s investigation revealed certain ADA violations, the settlement agreement requires Metro to hire an independent licensed architect to conduct an initial survey and annual inspections of Union Station, provide the United States Attorney’s Office with a list of all the violations identified by the independent licensed architect, and remedy all the violations identified.

“The Union Station agreement caps a long list of rail station matters my office resolved over the past several years to ensure full access for every transit user,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “Our office is committed to enforcing the rights of persons with disabilities, and I am pleased that the operators of the rail stations in this district have recognized the importance of complying with federal law and ensuring complete access. We thank the various entities, such as Metro, for fully cooperating in our investigations.”

With the Union Station agreement, the United States Attorney’s Office has resolved a total of 17 ADA investigations of rail stations in Southern California, including with cities and agencies responsible for stations in Anaheim, Barstow, Camarillo, Chatsworth, Fullerton, Glendale, Moorpark, Ontario, Oxnard, Palm Springs, Pomona, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, Simi Valley and Van Nuys.

The relief provided in the agreements includes the remediation of violations so that the rail stations are accessible to individuals with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs. Some examples of violations include insufficient directional signage indicating the location of accessible entrances or paths of travel, paths that are inaccessible due to sloping issues and abrupt elevation changes, non-compliant accessible parking spaces and access aisles, and non-compliant elements in restrooms.

These matters involving the rail stations were handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Katherine Hikida and Matthew Nickell of the Civil Division’s Civil Rights Section.

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