News from Northwest ADA Center – Idaho
Snow Removal by Dana Gover
A business has obligations under Title III of the ADA to remove barriers to services and programs. Under local law, municipal ordinances, or even a commercial lease, businesses can be responsible to remove snow. Depending on local codes, most businesses understand they are responsible for clearing the sidewalk. But in many cases, they draw the line where the sidewalk ends and the street begins.
Local governments are responsible for clearing streets. But after a major snowstorm, the dividing line between street and sidewalk gets confusing. Snow plows contribute to the problem by pushing show to the sides. As a result, a pedestrian may traverse the sidewalk safely only to be unable to cross the street.
The ADA states that a route into the business must be made accessible. A route is not just the sidewalk. A route includes the accessible parking spaces, pathways from parking, and pathway to business entrance. Accumulations of snow or ice make it impossible for someone in a wheelchair or other mobility device to get through the snow. Temporary or isolated periods of inaccessibility can happen but must be cleared in a reasonable period of time. If the business leases space, and the landlord is responsible for removing snow, the business cannot absolve itself from the responsibility for compliance. Both are open to a lawsuit. Best advice is to keep parking and pathways clear of snow.
As a person with a disability and self-advocate, I urge you to work together with your community leaders and policy makers to ensure snow removal plans are in place and followed. A good idea is meaningless without the courage to act! You must speak up! Wishing you safe travels! NW ADA Center-Idaho, Dana Gover MPA
For more information about the ADA contact:
Dana Gover, MPA, and ACTCP Certification, ADA Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator
For more information about ADA Technical Assistance visit the NW ADA Center Idaho website: nwadacenter.org/idaho
Phone: Voice and Text 208-841-9422
Idaho Relay Service: 7