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DEC 13 1996

The Honorable Rick Lazio


U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515-3202
Dear Congressman Lazio:

I am responding to your letter on behalf of your


constituent, Mr. XX , regarding the requirements of
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for sidewalks at new
highway construction projects. Please excuse our delay in
responding.

Generally, the ADA does not require installation of


pedestrian walkways in new construction projects where no such
walkways are planned. When public entities build new facilities
or alter existing facilities, the Department of Justice's
regulation implementing title II (enclosed) requires that the
newly constructed or altered areas be made accessible to
individuals with disabilities. The regulation specifically
provides that new construction of or alterations to streets give
rise to accessibility obligations for curb ramps. 28 C.F.R.
S 35.151(e). Therefore, if a State or local government were
constructing a new street or intersection or were altering an
existing street or intersection, it would be required to provide
accessible curb ramps or ramps where pedestrian walkways that are
elevated or curbed intersect with the new or altered street or
intersection. 28 C.F.R. S 35.151(e)(1). In addition, if the
State or local government were building or altering a pedestrian
walkway, it would be required to provide curb ramps or ramps as
needed where the walkway intersects streets or intersections. 28
C.F.R. S 35.151(e)(2).

In addition to the requirements for new construction and


alterations, title II of the ADA also requires public entities to
ensure that existing programs, services, and activities are
accessible to individuals with disabilities unless to do so would
cause a fundamental alteration of the nature of the program,
service, or activity or would result in undue financial or
administrative burdens. 28 C.F.R. S 35.150. If installation of
a curb ramp or of a pedestrian walkway is necessary to ensure

cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, McDowney, Hill, FOIA


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that individuals with disabilities have access to a particular


State or local program, such as a school, equivalent to the
access available to non-disabled individuals, the public entity
may, in some circumstances, be required to install a ramp or
walkway where none existed previously.

Of course, the ADA does not prohibit State or local


governments from exceeding the requirements of the ADA. Nor does
it limit their discretion to provide new pedestrian walkways and
ramps as they see fit to serve interests in addition to
accessibility.

I hope this information is helpful to you in responding to


your constituent.

Sincerely,

Deval L. Patrick
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

Enclosure

01-04369
​ Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-5202

October 22, 1996

Ms. Ellen Davis


Congressional Affairs
Department Of Justice
Room 1603
Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Ms. Davis:


I am writing on behalf of Mr. XX of XX
New York.

Mr. XX has been told that the Americans with Disabilities Act
requires state's to install sidewalks in all new highway construction with
potential pedestrian access (e.g. service roads to major highways). Mr. XX
is concerned because many of these sidewalks destroy substantial areas of
greenery along the roadway. I would greatly appreciate if you could see to it
that this claim regarding the act is investigated.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to


contact me.

Sincerely,

Rick Lazio
Representative in Congress

RL:kt

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