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Checking up on Amtrak's (lack of) ADA compliance

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Willbridge

OBS Chief
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........................................

And the remainder of the hall of shame:
Glenwood Springs CO -- still requires assistance from an Amtrak agent across bumpy gravel, I believe
Elko NV
Harpers Ferry WV
Hazlehurst MS
Deming NM
An informed source who is regularly in Glenwood Springs messages:

Glenwood station has an elevator, all areas are paved, there is no need for any assistance from any Amtrak Personnel whatsoever in any way shape or form other than the lift to get to the train itself from the platform.

It will be awhile before I get to GSC but two hypothetical explanations come to mind:

1) There were massive construction projects done by CDOT and the city in that area that may have impacted access.

2) There may be more than one route in and out.

I really appreciate the efforts to keep this list up to date and to keep the heat on. While working for RTD (Colorado) there were several occasions where our good faith efforts to follow the ADA were negated by the state or local authorities ignoring it.

-- rwr
 

HenryK

Service Attendant
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Jul 12, 2015
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I am deaf and use a service dog, and have found both ticket and OBS personnel to be extremely accommodating. Only once did I have a problem. On the Zephyr in Iowa when an overzealous conductor told us we could not go to the dining car together because people didn't want to eat with dogs. The sleeper attendant was horrified, and all the rest of the way to Emeryville the crew treated us like kings, including the other conductors. I did file a complaint after the trip, however, in order to protect other service dog teams that might encounter that particular conductor, and learned that she had been informed of the rules. I try to relieve my dog at longer station stops but the conductors will hold the train in an emergency for the dog's relief and have done so.
 

HenryK

Service Attendant
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Messages
240
Half mini schnauzer, half mini poodle, according to the DNA test. Hearing dogs are sometimes small terriers, often rescues picked by training organizations or their intelligence and energy. Trooper loves to travel by train and eagerly leaps aboard every time. Kind of like me.
 

neroden

Conductor
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Feb 23, 2014
Messages
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Location
Ithaca, NY
An informed source who is regularly in Glenwood Springs messages:

Glenwood station has an elevator, all areas are paved, there is no need for any assistance from any Amtrak Personnel whatsoever in any way shape or form other than the lift to get to the train itself from the platform.

It will be awhile before I get to GSC but two hypothetical explanations come to mind:

1) There were massive construction projects done by CDOT and the city in that area that may have impacted access.

2) There may be more than one route in and out.

I really appreciate the efforts to keep this list up to date and to keep the heat on. While working for RTD (Colorado) there were several occasions where our good faith efforts to follow the ADA were negated by the state or local authorities ignoring it.

-- rwr
Thank you very much for the update on Glenwood Springs!

Last time I went through, which was quite a few years back, it did not have a reliably working elevator in the station, the paths through the station had steps at the threshold on both the street and platform sides, and the plans to fix it (replace freight elevator with modern elevator, replace steps with paved ramp) weren't funded. (Therefore the access path was a long way round through the CDOT construction site.) This remained the status in each official Amtrak update (the last of which is, again, from several years ago).

Somehow the entire project managed to get done without a single news report or press release from anyone, which is quite extraordinary IMO.
 
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neroden

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Upon further investigation, the Hazlehurst MS platform appears to be accessible, so I don't know why it's listed as not accessible. It looks like a case where all that is missing is the wheelchair lift (and it does appear that the wheelchair lift *is* missing.)

Deming is missing... um... a platform. It's boarded by stopping the train across a grade crossing and boarding through one door. Yeech. Not ADA-compliant, certainly.

Elko NV, according to Amtrak's website, now claims to have accessible platforms but no wheelchair lift. Checking on Google Street View, this seems to be correct; it looks like there are compliant ramps to the platform from the parking lot on both sides. (This was not always the case, so someone must have constructed a ramp on the Westbound side at some point. Good.) Elko is ridiculous in that you can't get between the eastbound and westbound stations without a substantial drive. Still, I don't know why they haven't put in the wheelchair lifts if that's all they have left to do.

So, if I'm correct, this is the current situation. At all other stations, you can get from the station entrance onto the train (or vice versa) in a wheelchair.

Stations which potentially need wheelchair lifts & enclosures for wheelchair lifts; are probably wheelchair-accessible except for that; and might actually be done already, but it's not clear:
Gastonia NC
Picayune MS
Crawfordsville IN
Hazlehurst MS
Elko NV

Stations which are under construction (possibly done already):
Ashland VA (platform & lifts)
Westerly RI (proper elevators)
Sanderson TX (platform)

Stations funded but not constructed:
Newark DE
Coatesville PA

The Hall of Shame:
Parkesburg PA
Downingtown PA
Latrobe PA
North Philadelphia PA (needs only staff)
Deming NM (needs a platform)
Harpers Ferry WV

When you look at this list, you can see why PA officials are getting ticked off at Amtrak. It's looking very shortchanged.

You can also see why the revised federal rule for accessibility a few years ago discouraged platform-based lifts and encouraged train-based lifts instead; the list of stations which are just missing a lift is surprisingly long and if the lifts were kept on the trains instead, this would have gone quicker. A train-based lift could even be used at Deming, NM where people board from the street without a platform. But this isn't something readily retrofittable into old train cars, and Amtrak already went with the platform lift deployment, so at this point they should just finish it.
 
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jis

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neroden

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Here's the almost complete agreement. Paragraphs 12 through 16 are misnumbered, which is confusing.


This... changes very little -- except that Amtrak now has to file yearly DOJ reports on its progress to see whether it's meeting milestones for catching up with its obligations. That might actually make a substantial difference.

They have until the end of 2022 to do *full* ADA assessments at every station or DOJ will go after them again.

The $2.25 million fund is for people who were unable to board or get off at a particular list of stations, which oddly does not include North Philadelphia.

There is a procedure for filing ADA complaints and Amtrak is required to handle them properly now. Hmm. I may have one to make after my next trip.

"Exhibit 1" contains the official 24 top priority stations, the ones which had severe impediments to mobility when the DOJ filed suit. Amtrak is supposed to continue to work on other stations after that (since many stations have smaller ADA problems even after it's possible to get on and off the train in a wheelchair).

This is *almost* a superset of the ones I've been listing -- some of them have largely been fixed, such as Paoli and Marshall.

The only two I've been tracking which are not on the priority list of 24 are Deming, NM and Downingtown, PA. Deming, with no platform, might still be classified as a flag stop and probably was left out of the lawsuit for that reason. Downingtown, I don't know -- it should be on the list, it's definitely inaccessible and not a flag stop.

I'm rechecking some of them, since Amtrak still hasn't listed Thurmond, WV on its website as having an accessible platform, for example. I suspect some of this is due to failure to update the website. However, it looks like Thurmond needs a new platform and Amtrak and the National Park Service have a project for that, so I guess it should go back on the unfinished list.


I also got a little ahead of myself on Middletown PA and Ardmore PA; in both cases, the current station is inaccessible but the new one is actually under construction and should open soon (August 2021 for Middletown, early 2022 for Ardmore).


Exhibit 1 stations:
GSCGlenwood SpringsCO
NRKNewarkDE
TCAToccoaGA
CRFCrawfordsvilleIN
ABEAberdeenMD
HAZHazlehurstMS
PICPicayuneMS
ELKElkoNV
GASGastoniaNC
COTCoatesvillePA
LABLatrobePA
MJYMount JoyPA
PAOPaoliPA
PARParkesburgPA
PHNPhiladelphia - NorthPA
TYRTyronePA
WLYWesterlyRI
MHLMarshallTX
SNDSandersonTX
ASDAshlandVA
CLFClifton ForgeVA
ALDAldersonWV
HFYHarpers FerryWV
THNThurmondWV
 
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neroden

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Thinking a little further, Amtrak is required to complete 100% design on 15 stations per year, starting with these 24 -- but Mount Joy is constructed; Westerly, Sanderson, and Ashland are under construction; North Philadelphia doesn't need construction, only staffing; Picayune and Gastonia have definitely been through design since they were upgraded recently; Newark and Coatesville are designed; that only leaves 15 stations -- so they probably have to complete 100% design on the rest of the 24-station list by the end of 2022.

This should make PennDOT happy. Amtrak's then required to finish construction within 3 years, apart from any obstacles due to uncooperative third parties who need to grant permits. That problem shouldn't apply to the Keystone stations east of Harrisburg. This pretty much puts a hard schedule on the stations Amtrak has been delaying construction of on the Keystone route.
 
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