NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A blind lawyer who was run down by a bicyclist in Central Park a year and a half ago claims he has proof that the city has ignored the Americans with Disabilities Act.
As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, Richard Bernstein said he’s uncovered big violations of the federal law all over Central Park.
Bernstein was hospitalized for weeks and said he’s still in pain from the August 2012 accident but maintains that’s not why he’s suing. He filed the lawsuit against New York City a month after he was run down by a cyclist going 35 miles per hour.
“I’m not asking for a dime,” Bernstein told Silverman. “We simply want to make the park safer for people.”
Bernstein has compiled a report containing photos of what he said are major violations that will be entered into evidence if the case goes to trial.
“Curb slopes are double, double of what the federal government allows for,” he told Silverman.
The report also details missing signals and handrails and obstacles in supposedly accessible routes.
“We’re talking about new construction,” said Bernstein. “You can’t have the busiest park in the world not be accesible and open to all people who want to use it.”
WEB EXTRA: Read The Plaintiff’s Report Here (pdf)
Bernstein claims New York is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying the blind, visually impaired and other disabled individuals equal access to Central Park, according to court papers.
He said he’s only seeking safety changes and isn’t even asking for legal fees.
“This is my life’s work,” said Bernstein.
He also blasted the city for its response to the lawsuit.
“I’ve never come across a defendant that has been this callous, this mean, this indifferent to not even willing to have a meeting,” Bernstein said.
In a statement, Parks Department Assistant Commissioner Arthur Pincus said:
“Given the pending litigation it is not appropriate for us to comment in detail on Mr. Bernstein’s material. We note, however, that there are a multitude of safe and accessible pathways for visitors to use the Park.”
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