Appendix A: Letter from FHWA re Accessible Pedestrian Signals

July 8, 2005

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
400 Seventh St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590

Mr. Al Pietrolungo, President
American Council of the Blind of Maryland
4334 Slater Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21236

Refer to: HER
DOT# 2003-0031

Dear Mr. Pietrolungo:

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is in receipt of the Investigative Report, regarding the complaint you filed against the Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA), alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Your complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation on October 22, 2002, and forwarded to the FHWA Division office in Maryland for investigation on December 10, 2002. In your complaint, you allege that the MSHA is in violation of the ADA for failure to provide accessible pedestrian signals for blind pedestrians.

The information contained in the Investigative Report states that you requested the MSHA to install accessible pedestrian signals at various locations in the State of Maryland. The MSHA's representative stated that your request could not be addressed until guidance from FHWA is provided which makes the installation of accessible pedestrian signals a requirement.

The ADA regulations at 28 Code of Federal Regulations Part 35.130(b)(1)(iii) requires that the aids, benefits, or services provided to individuals with disabilities must be as effective in affording equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement as those provided to others. The FHWA finds that the lack of accessibility for blind pedestrians is a violation of the ADA. Therefore, the MSHA is not in compliance with the ADA.

The FHWA Division office in Maryland will work with the MSHA and provide necessary guidance to bring the MSHA into compliance with the ADA. The MSHA will be required to provide a transition plan for achieving compliance with the ADA for blind pedestrians. The plan should be provided to the FHWA within 45 days of notification to the MSHA of its non-compliance.

This complaint will remain open until full compliance is achieved. If you have any questions regarding your complaint you may contact Ms. Rhoda Cannon at 202-366-3384.

Sincerely,

Director, Investigations and Adjudications