Settlement Agreement between the United States of America
Providence, Rhode Island
On October 4, 2012, the Department of Justice entered into a settlement agreement with Providence, Rhode Island, under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), a Department initiative to ensure greater access for persons with disabilities to state and local government programs, services, activities, and facilities.
An extensive on-site survey was conducted in October, 2010. City staff worked cooperatively with the Department throughout the compliance review process in order to reach an agreement.
Facilities and programs surveyed by the Department and covered by the agreement include: City Hall, Roger Williams Park & Zoo, the new Animal Control Shelter, the Providence Center and Technical Academy, and several recreation centers, senior centers, City parks, playgrounds, and several police substations. Additionally, staff reviewed several libraries, which had recently come under control of the City of Providence.
The Department also reviewed the City’s policies and procedures regarding voting, emergency management and disaster prevention, and sidewalk maintenance. The text of the settlement agreement specifies the modifications Providence will be making to its programs, services, and facilities. Among other things, the City has agreed to:
- Make physical modifications to its facilities so that parking, routes into the buildings, entrances, restrooms, service counters, and drinking fountains are accessible to people with disabilities.
- Review compliance with Title II of the ADA for those City facilities and programs that were not reviewed by the Department.
- Post, publish, and distribute a notice to inform members of the public of the provisions of Title II and their applicability to the City’s programs, services, and activities.
- Train staff in using Rhode Island’s telephone relay service for telephone communications with individuals who are deaf, hard or hearing, or have speech disabilities.
- Develop policies and procedures and perform necessary planning to ensure that individuals with disabilities are afforded equal, integrated access to emergency management programs, including emergency preparedness, notification, evacuation, sheltering, response, clean up, and recovery.
- Develop a method for providing information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the City’s accessible services, activities, and programs.
- Ensure that the City’s official website and other web-based services are accessible to persons with disabilities.
- Install signs at any inaccessible entrance to a facility directing individuals with disabilities to an accessible entrance or to information about accessing programs and services at other accessible facilities. Implement a plan to ensure the accessibility of sidewalks and curb ramps throughout Providence, Rhode Island.
- Amend its employment policies, as necessary, to comply with the regulations of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission implementing Title I of the ADA, codified at 29 C.F.R. Part 1630.
According to census data, the City has a total population of 173,618 and approximately 23.1 percent of residents have a disability.
The agreement requires actions to be completed within three years. The Department will actively monitor compliance with the agreement until it has confirmed that all required actions have been completed.
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