[nfbmi-talk] mich flier ada complaint
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Sat Sep 20 13:09:36 UTC 2014
Michigan Flyer AirRide bus stop debate: Blind woman, wheelchair user sue Detroit airport
Meegan Holland | mholland at mlive.com
Meegan Holland | mholland at mlive.com
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on September 20, 2014 at 6:47 AM, updated September 20, 2014 at 7:34 AM
A blind East Lansing resident and the executive director of the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America want the Detroit Metropolitan Airport to reverse
its decision to move the Michigan Flyer bus stop to an area that they say is not ADA-compliant.
The stop at the McNamara Terminal at DTW serves the huge Delta Airlines customer base and Air France. Michigan Flyer AirRide, AirBus for U-M students and
SMART buses serving southeast Michigan all use the stop, which is curbside at the International Arrivals waiting room. DTW wants to change it to the Ground
Karla Hudson of East Lansing and Michael Harris filed a lawsuit and a request for an emergency temporary restraining order in federal district court on
Friday, saying that the current McNamara stop adequately serves people with disabilities, while the new stop at the Ground Transportation Center violates
the Americans with Disabilities Act.
They aren't alone in their complaints. Many seniors and frequent passengers of the Michigan Flyer/AirRide service have gone on record with emails explaining
why they don't want the boarding area moved. The popular bus line serves East Lansing, Ann Arbor and DTW.
Earlier this summer Gov. Rick Snyder wrote the Wayne County Airport Authority encouraging them to reconsider, saying the current stop "provides convenient,
direct access and ideal customer service." And on Sept. 18, Jerrold Jung, chair of MDOT's State Transportation Commission, wrote the Wayne County Airport
Authority CEO Tom Naughton asking him to delay the move.
But that didn't sway the authority, which has photos of congestion at the current International Arrivals stop and cars passing the Michigan Flyer on the
right, endangering passengers.
"Once we observe that a safety hazard exists, we're obligated to address it ... it's a vehicle or pedestrian accident waiting to happen," Wayne County Airport
Authority spokesman Michael Conway told MLive.
Attorney Jason Turkish of Southfield-based Nyman Turkish PC disagrees. He's representing Hudson and Harris in their federal suit.
"The location that the airport is proposing for (Michigan Flyer/AirRide) and SMART bus services is not accessible to the disabled and poses a great risk
to the safety of its passengers," said Turkish. "For those reasons we asked the U.S. District court to enter an emergency order requiring the airport for
the time being to keep public transportation in its current location, which is accessible to persons with disabilities."
But Conway says the claims are unfounded: "People are asking, 'Why are you discriminating against people of disability?' That’s not what we’re doing – we’re
trying to improve the safety of the airport."
Conway answered passenger's beefs,
which range from braving the elements to accessibility issues.
Turkish on Friday morning filed the lawsuit based on claims that DTW is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. A request for an emergency restraining
order to prevent Monday's move was rejected late Friday, Turkish said, because Judge Mark Goldsmith was concerned it would be confusing to make the change
so late in the game. Turkish said he hopes for a hearing next week to get a preliminary injunction.
The lawsuit in part states:
Block quote start
By ignoring the needs and dignity of Plaintiffs, and other disabled persons similarly situated, while traveling to and from the airport, Defendant treats
them as second-class citizens, unjustly disregards their basic rights to equality and dignity, and causes embarrassment, humiliation, harassment, and emotional
distress. Additionally, by moving transit access to an inaccessible area, Defendant's plans will needlessly subject the Plaintiffs, and those similarly
situated, to unnecessary risk of bodily injury and death.
Block quote end
The new location at the GTC violates the ADA, the suit states, because of traffic congestion, dangerous boarding areas, inadequate waiting areas, exposure
to the weather, difficult-to-find elevators and the lack of a service animal relief area.
Conway said many DTW passengers with disabilities already use the Ground Transportation Facility to pick up cabs and hotel shuttles.
"The Ground Transportation Center is ADA compliant and to make this an issue, is not true," he said.
Meegan Holland is Lansing/Capitol News Editor for MLive Media Group. You can email her at
mholland at mlive.com,
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