Beachcombing

Jay Beeler

Readers: Please do me a favor. Call Eric Lopez, Long Beach public works director at (562) 570-5690 and request that he call the Beachcomber at (562) 597-8000.

Once again the City of Long Beach is stonewalling us as we explore the details behind a mailer we received in January titled “Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) T-Intersection Curb Ramps Project. City of Long Beach Construction Notice.”

The mailer states “If you have any questions or concerns regarding the project, please call Ross Cruz at (562) 570-7949.” We did that on Feb. 26 (twice), Feb. 29 and March 2, but the civil engineering associate for ADA and sidewalk projects failed to respond to our voice mail messages.

Then we called Public Works Director Lopez on April 2 and received the same non-response. Obviously Lopez and Cruz were too busy gorging themselves at the public trough to perform their communications responsibilities.

 

We have numerous questions about this activity:

How many mailers were sent out and to whom were they sent?

  • Where are the 4,500 new curb ramps being installed?
  • What is the average cost per site, based on $50 million being spent on existing non-compliant curb ramps and $125 million toward non-compliant pedestrian facilities?
  • Why was the city non-compliant in the first place, resulting in a 2014 lawsuit titled Ochoa, et. al. versus City of Long Beach?
  • Is this totally a city-funded activity or does the federal government participate in the cost?
  • Why weren’t there public hearings to answer homeowner’s questions about construction on their property?
  • Why can’t homeowners appeal a project that takes away a parking spot for a handicapped resident and/or removes trees?

 

This week we did receive a call from Cynthia Henrie, who resides in the 2000 block of Fidler Avenue where it intersects with Litchfield Avenue. She is handicapped with chronic Lyme Disease and the new ADA ramp being placed at her curb would take away the only street parking spot, because curbs are painted red on either side of ramps installed at a T-intersection.

She maintains that the lost parking spot and removal of a Jacaranda tree will lower her home’s value, as it has for other nearby residents.

Henrie’s architect friend, Amy Karn, looked into the situation and said: “The Americans with Disabilities Act only requires curb ramps to be installed at newly constructed or modified roadways, which is not the case here. I’d argue your situation should be categorically exempt from this modification.”

Cynthia has appealed the construction with the Public Works Department. “I have been literally been politely told, ‘Well, it’s city property, you don’t really have a choice.’”

 

I wonder if this “my way or the highway” approach is really justifiable.

What do you think? Do you have a similar situation where you live? Send me an email to voice your opinion.

Meanwhile the T-intersection at the end of my street has recently seen a tree removed and a concrete saw used to remove a large section of the curb as part of the ADA project. Lawsuits at work.

Since the sidewalk in front of our house is “city property” I guess we should sue the city (much like Ochoa, et. al.) to have the dangerously uneven sidewalk repaired.

 

Funny stuff:

  • If I am ever on life support, unplug me and plug me back in and see if that works.
  • Last night the internet stopped working so I spent a few hours with my family. They seem like good people.

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