JUN 15 1995

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein United States Senator 1700 Montgomery Street, Suite 305 San Francisco, California 94111 Dear Senator Feinstein: I am responding to your letter on behalf of your constituent, XX , who is inquiring about the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the provision of accessible parking spaces at an existing place of public accommodation, and to local enforcement of laws pertaining to the provision of accessible parking spaces. Please excuse the delay in responding. Title III of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities by public accommodations, requires the owners or operators of a place of public accommodation, such as a race track, to remove architectural barriers to access. If a public accommodation provides parking, the absence of accessible parking spaces is considered to be an architectural barrier that precludes independent use of the place of public accommodation by people with disabilities. In removing architectural barriers, a public accommodation is required to comply with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design to the extent that it is readily achievable, that is, easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. The requirements for accessible parking are contained in section 4.1.2(5) of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, a copy of which is enclosed. If self-parking is provided for employees or guests of a facility, accessible parking spaces should be provided in compliance with the requirements of 4.1.2(5). The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to investigate alleged violations of title III. However, the ADA does not authorize the Department to pursue every complaint. The Department may seek judicial relief only in instances where there appears to be a pattern or practice of discrimination or where an

issue of general public importance is involved. For cases that do not fall within those categories, the ADA relies on private

01-03653 -2individuals to enforce their rights through litigation in Federal court. This prioritization of cases allows the Department to focus its resources on cases that will have far-reaching effects, for example, by educating individuals and entities about their rights and responsibilities under the Act and by setting legal precedents that can make later cases simpler or even unnecessary. Enforcement of local parking regulations is a matter governed by State or local law. The ADA does not contain provisions specifically requiring law enforcement officials to ensure that accessible parking spaces are occupied only by persons with disabilities. Decisions made by local law enforcement officials as to how to allocate scarce enforcement resources are a matter of local prosecutorial discretion that typically would not raise ADA concerns. I hope that this information is helpful to you in responding to your constituent. As you requested, we are returning XX correspondence. Sincerely, Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division

Enclosures

01-03664

XX SAN MATEO, CA 94402 April 6, 1995 The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator 1700 Montgomery Street, Suite 305 San Francisco, CA 94111 Dear Senator Feinstein, I took my disabled brother, XX , to Bay Meadows Horse Racing Track in San Mateo last Friday night and we discovered that the handicapped spaces were filled with cars without DP plates or handicapped plaques. We called the San Mateo Police and Officer Michael Schlegel arrived promptly. He stated that the parking spaces were not properly marked for handicapped parking because the law reads that there must either be a sign posted or the space must be outlined in blue markings, therefore he was unable to issue a citation. We discovered that with the exception of a few spaces along the

fence of the fairgrounds (which are some of the farthest spaces from the race track), there are no handicapped parking spaces at Bay Meadows. The spaces with the handicapped logo are apparently marked as such to allow the management to use those spaces for valet parking. This deception should be an illegal practice and it is without a doubt unethical. It seems that Bay Meadows may be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 but I have no idea of how such a law is enforced or interpreted. Any assistance that you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely yours, XX cc: XX Disabled Rights Advocates

Attachments

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