Woman in wheelchair says parking meters too tall, sues parking authority
A Hampton woman who uses a wheelchair says she could not reach the button controls on one of Pittsburgh's electronic parking kiosks and ended up getting a parking ticket.
Irritation became determination when she couldn't find an accessible parking space near the city's parking court on Fourth Avenue, Downtown.
“I couldn't get to the court to fight the ticket,” said Debra J. Stemmler, 53, a research specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
Stemmler on Thursday filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of all wheelchair users against the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, seeking an injunction that would require the authority to bring the height of its kiosks into compliance with federal disability access standards.
David Onorato, the authority's executive director, could not be reached for comment.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires all the controls and displays on the kiosks to be no more than 48 inches or 4 feet off the ground.
When Stemmler parked on Centre Avenue near UPMC Shadyside on Sept. 14, she reports she was confronted with a kiosk whose controls measured 52 inches off the ground. She started measuring other kiosks in Oakland and Downtown. All exceeded the 4-foot limit.
Linda Judson, the authority's chairwoman until she resigned in December because she was moving to Beaver County, said the height issue was not brought up when the authority decided to install the kiosks.
“I'm not aware that was ever an issue,” she said.
The authority paid $7 million to Cale America Inc. of Tampa to install the kiosks. Judson said the authority expected the company to know whether its equipment met all state and federal regulations.
A Cale representative could not be reached for comment.
Stemmler said she started talking with the authority and the city's ADA coordinator about the issue in October. Richard Meritzer, the ADA coordinator, could not be reached for comment.
The authority dismissed her ticket and says it's in the process of correcting the problem, but won't provide details, Stemmler said.
About six weeks ago, authority officials told her that they had brought some of the kiosks in Oakland and the North Side into compliance.
“They said they were making changes, but they wouldn't give me specific meters to look at,” Stemmler said.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear
- Rossi: Pirates foolish to bet on Burnett return
- Steelers’ Mitchell taking cautious approach about dealing with injuries
- Steelers notebook: No decision on surgery for rookie CB Golson
- Rain postpones Pirates-Cubs game
- Operating loss mounts at Highmark’s core hospital system
- PennEnvironment threatens to sue steel giant under Clean Air Act
- Perfect storm rains heroin, pain pills onto Mon Valley
- Doctors to be given star ratings on UPMC site
- FNB buying Harrisburg-based Metro Bancorp
- Inside the Steelers: Wide array of receiving options shine