Tuesday, September 15, 2009

SEPTA may appeal court order for disabilities access

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The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority may appeal acourt order requiring two subway-access elevators near City Hall. U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter last Friday ruled in favor of disabled passengers who sued to compel SEPTA to build the elevators. The judge gave SEPTA until Oct. 30 to prepare a schedule for complying with the order.

"We are reviewing whether to appeal," SEPTA General Counsel Nicholas Staffieri said, adding that SEPTA was trying to determine if Pratter's ruling constituted a final order.

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Staffieri said SEPTA could not build an elevator in the courtyard of City Hall without permission from the city, which owns the courtyard. "The city has to be brought in. It is the landlord," he said.

Countered Rina Cutler, the city's deputy mayor fortransportation and one of two city representatives on the SEPTA board, "I can't imagine we would withhold permission for something like that." She added, "I would agree that it's long overdue to have accessibility down there.”

But Cutler did note she would prefer to add the elevators as part of an already planned rehabilitation of the deteriorated City Hall subway station, scheduled to begin in 2011, and expected to cost $100 million.