Every year Vacaville residents and others have placed chairs along the sidewalks on Merchant Street in an effort to secure a good viewing spot for the annual Fiesta Days Parade, which takes place the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
This year, citizens have raised concerns about wheelchair access on those sidewalks. As a result of the City’s review and consideration of the concerns raised, the City of Vacaville will be removing any chairs that are determined to create compliance issues with ADA access laws.
Chairs that are moved will be placed on the lawn in front of City Hall, 650 Merchant St., or on public property as close as possible to where they were set out initially on Friday morning.
Title 2 of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) extends the prohibition on discrimination established by section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 794, to all activities of state and local governments regardless of whether these entities receive Federal financial assistance.
Generally, cities must “maintain in operable working condition those features of facilities and equipment that are required to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities by the Act or this part.” 28 C.F.R. § 35.133(a). The regulations define “facility” to include “any portion of . . . roads, walks, [or] passageways,” therefore, city sidewalks are among those facilities to be maintained in operable working condition, except in certain circumstances.
In addition to ADA concerns, leaving chairs, or almost anything else, on a City sidewalk is considered encroachment of the City right-of-way and can be removed.
According to the City of Vacaville Municipal Code:
8.10.060 Public nuisance.
Each of the following acts or conditions is declared to be a public nuisance and may be abated in accordance with this chapter:
K. Any unpermitted obstruction or encroachment on any City property or City right-of-way, including, but not limited to, any public street, alley, lane, court, sidewalk, curb, gutter, park, building or any other public improvement or place.
In this case, the chairs can be considered an encroachment of the right-of-way, and as a complaint has been filed, the City is compelled to take action.
While we understand that this has been a long-standing tradition in our City, we must also be sensitive to those who are disabled and may have accessibility issues, as well as follow the ADA requirements and the Municipal Code.
We hope everyone enjoys the parade and has a safe Memorial Day Weekend.