The Mission of the Office of Accessibility and ADA is to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities by City Departments, City Personnel, and Agencies receiving financial assistance from the City in their programs, policies, procedures, and facilities by monitoring compliance with the ADA and Ordinance # 9779, investigating disability related complaints, providing technical assistance and training about disability laws and issues, and evaluating the needs of the disabled community on a continuous basis.
ADA Transition Plan for the City of El Paso
As part of the ongoing commitment to create an inclusive environment and experience for all persons, the City of El Paso is taking the essential steps in furthering its Transition Plan supporting requirements outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The City has been aggressively removing barriers for numerous years through various programs to include the ADA citywide facility/building barrier removal, Sun Metro barrier removal, Street Resurfacing, curb cut requests, parkway structure and sidewalk gap programs and street and drainage capital projects. These combined efforts provide at least $3.5 million dollars of critical improvements annually.
The Transition Plan advances this initiative by providing the necessary comprehensive guidance in addressing ADA compliance with regard to municipal policies, procedures, programs and facilities. The primary goal of the Plan is to optimize accessibility by removing existing physical barriers.
The original self evaluation of City facilities was completed in 1992 and was subsequently updated in 2002. Over the past several years, additional internal and external studies by multiple City departments and external agencies have presented a detailed assessment of required facility and infrastructure improvements needed. This allows the City to interactively view and prioritize repairs in keeping with ADA and Texas Accessibility Standards guidelines. Identified barriers include missing curb ramps, sidewalk gaps, inadequate routes to bus stops and bus stop landings, un-accessible facilities and buildings, signage, non compliant toilet rooms and other portions of City Buildings. Pursuant to this assessment the current estimate needed for these improvements is approximately 26 million dollars.
Collectively, the assessment findings in conjunction with community stakeholder involvement have provided for the prioritization of identified needs. The following is a listing of established priorities as part of the Transition Plan development:
Removal of barriers in municipal buildings and facilities used by the public.
Removal of barriers at bus stops, major and minor street arterials.
Removal of barriers at other municipal facilities.
Removal of barriers in the right of ways that access commercial facilities.
Removal of barriers in the right of ways in residential areas.
The City is utilizing various programs and funding sources in addressing these listed priorities. Available funding mechanisms under existing City programs include the Curb Cut on Request Program, Sidewalk Gap Program and Sun Metro Barrier Removal Program.
The Accessibility Coordinator, through the Office of Accessibility and ADA and forming part of the Engineering Department, is the designated individual responsible for the development and implementation of the Transition Plan. All interested individuals are encouraged to contact the Office of Accessibility and ADA for more information by telephone at 541-4243 voice/TDD.
Current draft of the ADA Transition Plan
How ADA Works
1. Compliance Monitoring
Compliance monitoring is done utilizing the different standards, laws, and ordinances.
The Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968 requires access to facilities designed, built, altered, constructed or leased with Federal Funds. The Access Board developed and maintains the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, which are used to enforce the ABA.
City Ordinance # 9779 was passed by the City of El Paso in 1989 and requires the City of El Paso and recipients who receive financial assistance (funds, services of City personnel, or real or personal property) to provide a self assurance that individuals with disabilities will not be discriminated against in their programs and hiring practices and a self evaluation of their facilities to determine if physical barriers exist that limit accessibility. The ordinance requires that a transition plan for removal of barriers be developed if any exist.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in July of 1990 contains Five Titles. Title I covers Employment, Title II covers State and Local Governments, Title III covers public accommodations and commercial facilities, Title IV covers Telecommunications, and Title V covers Miscellaneous items not covered by the other Titles. Title II requires state and local governments to evaluate their programs, policies, procedures, and facilities to determine if any discriminate against persons with disabilities, and to correct programs, policies, and procedures immediately if found to be non compliant, and develop a transition plan to remove barriers in buildings and facilities. The Access Board developed the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) to ensure that buildings and facilities are accessible.
The Texas Architectural Barriers Act was enacted in 1969, and went into effect on January 1, 1970. Originally it required that all buildings and facilities that were constructed or substantially altered with public funds to eliminate barriers encountered by persons with a disability. The Texas Accessibility Standards were adopted in 1993 and were deemed to meet or exceed new construction and alteration requirements of the ADA in September of 1996.
2. Investigation of Complaints
There are several steps in investigation of complaints and in obtaining compliance with the ADA.
Concerns of discrimination against individuals with disabilities are identified.
When it has been determined that there is a problem, mediation to get the problem corrected is attempted. If not corrected by mediation, denial of funding for a program to filing a Federal lawsuit could occur.
After a decision in the case has been decided either through mediation or court action, the progress of compliance is monitored until compliance has been attained.
Further investigation to maintain compliance may occur.
3. Facilitation of Accommodations
The steps needed to determine the type and facilitate an accommodation are as follows.
The barrier to a building, employment, work environment, etc. is identified usually by the individual requesting the accommodation.
The disability of the individual is identified.
The individual requesting an accommodation is involved in determining what type of accommodation is needed.
The accommodation or possible a number of different accommodations are identified.
The accommodator determines which accommodation can be afforded by the entity.
The accommodation is put into place and maintained by the entity.
4. Advise the Mayor and City Council
It is important to keep the Mayor and City Council aware of disability issues and concerns.
It is necessary to identify the issues and concerns that the disability community may have.
After the issues are identified, it is necessary to describe to the Mayor and City Council the impact the issues have on the citizens with disabilities.
Possible solutions are presented to the Mayor and Council.
The appropriate solution is implemented to remedy the issue.
The issue is monitored to maintain compliance.
5. Provide Technical Assistance and Training
Providing technical assistance and training ensures that new construction and renovation meet the requirements of the ADA and that persons with disabilities are not discriminated against in the programs, policies, procedures, and facilities that are covered under the ADA and other Disability Laws. Technical Assistance and Training is provided to the following:
City Departments and Department ADA Representatives
Agencies that contract with the City
Developers and Contractors
6. Community Education, Outreach, Information and Media Relations
Community Education, Outreach, Information and Media Relations are important to keep the public informed of the laws and changes in laws. This is accomplished in several ways.
Presentations on ADA, Disability Issues, TAS, and Accessibility Inspections are presented to groups when requested.
The Community is encouraged to attend Accessibility Advisory Committee monthly meetings.
A brochure about City of Services has been produced and is updated as changes occur.
Public Service Announcements are put out for special meetings and projects.
For further information or assistance regarding ADA or Accessibility please utilize the attached forms and information or contact:
William Bennett, Accessibility and ADA Coordinator