Chino Paying Nearly $600,000 To Survey Its Handicapped Accommodation Shortcomings

An Irvine-based company is examining the City of Chino’s existing municipal facilities and public improvements to ascertain their compliance or lack thereof with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
While employees with Veritas Technical Assessments are doing the actual inspection of the streets, curbs, curbcuts, sidewalks, crosswalks, buildings, parks, amenities and other municipal assets, the city in its parlance is referring to examination as “a self-evaluation survey of accessibility barriers for people with disabilities.”
Veritas Technical Assessments began the effort on April 17. According to Lisa Almilli, the accessibility coordinator in the city’s administrative division, “The purpose of the survey is to develop an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan to address identified barriers and to make programs, services, and facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. The consultant, on behalf of the city, is conducting a comprehensive citywide evaluation of accessibility compliance for city parks and buildings, public right-of-way facilities, and city policies and practices. The assessments of city-owned buildings and parks began in January 2023 and concluded in March. The consultant will embark on the public right-of-way portion of the survey, which provides for field inspections of public pedestrian facilities, beginning the week of April 17 for an estimated duration of four months.”
Almilli said, “Surveyors will collect data on various aspects of pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way using the equipment shown in the attached photos. This equipment measures slopes, level changes, sidewalk roughness, and width, as well as other data to determine compliance with accessibility regulations. The pedestrian facilities that will be measured include public sidewalks, curb ramps, street crossings, and bus stops. Neither of the pieces of equipment to be used generates noise nor will create disruptions.”
According to Almilli, “Upon completion of the self-evaluation of all cty programs, services, and facilities, the city will establish an updated Americans with Disabilities Act transition plan addressing structural and programmatic barriers. The transition plan will include methods to remove these barriers as well as a schedule for achieving compliance.”
Almilli said, “The city wants residents and businesses to be aware of the surveys that will be taking place during the estimated four-month period and the equipment being used.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law passed in 1990 prohibiting discrimination based on disability, requiring that employers and government afford what are supposed to be reasonable accommodations to employees and citizens with disabilities. Imposes accessibility requirements on public facilities and quarters.
While Title I of the act applies to employment and allowances employers must make for employees, Title II pertains to public entities and public transportation and Title III relates to public accommodations and commercial facilities.
Title II prohibits disability discrimination by all public entities at the local level, e.g., school district, municipal, city, or county, and at state level. Public entities must comply with Title II regulations by the U.S. Department of Justice. These regulations cover access to all programs and services offered by the entity. Access includes physical access described in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design and programmatic access that might be obstructed by discriminatory policies or procedures of the entity.
Title II applies to public transportation provided by public entities and is regulated through the U.S. Department of Transportation. Title II requires the provision of paratransit services by public entities that provide fixed-route services and it sets minimum requirements for space layout in order to facilitate wheelchair securement on public transport.
Under Title III of the ADA, all new construction, modification or alterations after July 1992) must be compliant with guidelines that are intended to make facilities accessible and usable by the physically handicapped, practically meaning buildings a facilities should have ramps or elevators as alternatives to stairs to allow those in wheelchairs or using walking assistance devices to surmount level changes. Title III also applies to facilities existing prior to July 1992. One definition of discrimination under Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act is the “failure to remove” architectural barriers in existing facilities. There are limitations, such that under the Americans With Disability Act the standard is whether “removing barriers” is “readily achievable”, defined as “…easily accomplished without much difficulty or expense.”
There is some minor controversy over whether retaining Veritas Technical Assessments or any outside consultant to do the surveying of the city was necessary, as the project was to be a “self assessment,” and the city already employs dozens of staff members in its public works divsion and elsewhere who could have, in the normal course of their work about the city have made note of those areas where a handicapped individual would have or might have difficulty transiting.
The city began a preparations for the request for proposal for the survey in May 2022 after the fiscal year 2022-23 budget was approved, and the solicitation for a what the city termed a qualified consultant began in September 2022.
In November 2022, the City selected Bureau Veritas Technical Assessments as the consultant to provide an updated Americans with Disabilities Act self-evaluation and transition plan.
On November 15, 2022, the city council awarded the contract for the survey to Veritas Technical Assessments in an amount of $538,551.20 and authorize an additional $53,855.00 for project contingencies for a total contract not to exceed $592,406.20.
Some residents noted that the city could have better spent the nearly $600,000 on the known and recognized areas around the city where compliance with the Americans With Disability Act is lagging., thereby phyusically accomplishing what Veritas will provide only in conceptual terms.

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