Feds Find Dozens of ADA Violations at New Canaan Public Facilities

Federal officials in an investigation regarding violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act have cited dozens of barriers to access at public facilities throughout New Canaan. Launched last summer, the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation led to an “on-site survey” of five public facilities in New Canaan in May, according to a Site Survey Report issued Oct. 7 by Diane Perry, an architect in the DOJ’s Disability Rights Section. The investigation at the five facilities—Waveny House, Town Hall campus, Mead Park, Firehouse, Waveny paddle courts and hut and playing fields at New Canaan High School—yielded a total of 109 citations, according to the report, obtained by NewCanaanite.com. 

The barriers range from what appear to require small changes, such as new or relocated signage, to substantial infrastructure projects, such as entirely new accessible routes where none currently exist or changes to the slope of walkways and ramps already in place. In some cases, the DOJ cited barriers following very recent projects.

Officials Pursue Noise-Reduction Measures at Waveny Trails Near Merritt Parkway

Officials say they’re looking at ways the town might partner with nonprofit agencies to reduce the noise along the southernmost trails at Waveny that run alongside the Merritt Parkway. Parks & Recreation Commissioner Keith Richey during the appointed body’s July 13 meeting said he walks that stretch of trail often “and it’s so noisy.”

“Is there anything we can do like a bulldozer pushing earth up to create like a little embankment, or plant a bunch of spruces or do something?” Richey said during the Commission’s regular meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. 

His question came following an update from Waveny Park Conservancy Executive Director Phoebe Knowles. During the update, she cited the Merritt Parkway trail and said “the town removed the really ugly chain link fence this year, which has improved the visuals down there so it looks beautiful.”

In response to Rickey’s question, Knowles and Parks & Recreation Director John Howe said several officials from the town, WPC and Merritt Parkway Conservancy had been out looking the area that very day. The group was “trying to figure out who and how” to address the noise issue, Knowles said. The state Department of Transportation has a right-of-way that runs 90 feet from the center of the parkway, she said.