Disabled vets file lawsuit over sidewalks and crosswalks

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Paralyzed veterans filed a class action lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Washtenaw County road commission and two townships.

They claim that sidewalks, bus stops and cross walks fail to meet federal mandates.

One intersection at Washington Avenue and Golfside in Ypsilanti has some with disabilities calling it a danger zone.

Those with the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living filed a class action lawsuit against MDOT, The Wayne County Road Commission and both Ypsilanti and Pittsfield Township.

They claim sidewalks, bus stops and crosswalks fail to meet federal mandates. And they are demanding change.

The suit outlines hundreds of problem areas in Washtenaw County that they feel are dangerous and don't meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Every intersection has it's problems," said attorney J. Mark Finnegan. "Like we showed you at Hewitt (Road) where there's a box where you go in and there's no way out."

Listed in the lawsuit was Carolyn Grawi who is legally blind, who says she's frustrated and doesn't feel safe crossing construction zones.

"My cane will drop about two feet," she said. "That tells me there's a huge hole, that's not telling me how I get across."

Not only do they say the wall an issue some intersections only give 20 seconds to cross and the road has holes.

"If you are dodging around the hole you're going to get stuck in traffic," Finnegan said.

Over and over these folks say they are getting stuck and needing another person to help them cross.

Finnegan says he stood out here with the Washtenaw county road commission and Pittsfield township officials back in April.

"But here we are six months later and nothing's been fixed," Finnegan said.

Pittsfield Township and MDOT officials tell FOX 2 Thursday they were unaware of the lawsuit. A spokesperson for MDOT said  "Our current ADA ramps, landings, placements, and grading details are based on years of research and comply with the Act.."

The managing director for the WCRC also says he was unaware, adding that ADA standards are always evolving and older projects may not meet current guidelines.

"The standards have been the same since 1975," Finnegan said. "Nothing has changed."

These folks hope this lawsuit will bring action - before someone gets hurt or worse.