Lawsuit over height of Pittsburgh parking meters settled

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A lawsuit over the height of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s new pay stations has been settled, and all of the multi-space meters will be lowered to make them more accessible to wheelchair users by July 31, officials said Tuesday.

Attorneys for the authority and for University of Pittsburgh research specialist Debra J. Stemmler filed a stipulation of dismissal, indicating that the lawsuit had been settled. U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer then closed the case.

Terms of the settlement were not indicated in the court filings. According to the stipulation for dismissal, Judge Fischer retains jurisdiction to interpret and enforce the settlement.

Authority attorney Brian H. Simmons wrote in an email response to questions that the authority would not incur any costs related to lowering the meters, and that the work would be done by the end of July 2015.

Authority Executive Director David Onorato would not further detail the settlement.

Jeff Nethery, director of business development for Cale America, the company that was awarded a $7 million contract in 2012 to install and maintain hundreds of the multi-space pay stations, said last week that his firm would adjust the meters. He could not be reached for details Tuesday.

Ms. Stemmler, who works for Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, claimed in the lawsuit that she was ticketed a year ago despite leaving a note on her dashboard indicating that she could not reach the buttons on the new meters. She claimed that federal regulations based on the Americans with Disabilities Act indicate that the “operable parts” of meters should be no more than 48 inches above ground, and that Pittsburgh’s new pay stations were higher.

When the authority in 2011 sought proposals for the new meters, it specified that the meters must comply with the ADA, adding that the “center line of control shall not be more than 54 inches above” the sidewalk.

First Published September 2, 2014 3:09 PM

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