Prairie Village resident Finn Bullers is leading a second-effort push to get new disabled-access signage posted throughout the city of Merriam after the city council there was forced to put its planned signage replacement on hold for fear of daily fines.
In July, the council had voted to adopt a new disabled access icon that depicts a more active image of a person in a wheelchair. But earlier this month, the same council that unanimously approved plans to move to the new graphics voted to hold off while the city attorney researched which governing body has jurisdiction over determining compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act rules on access signage.
IKEA had already installed $800 worth of new access signage at its Merriam store, Bullers said, but the city inspector wouldn’t approve it because of the ambiguity surrounding the regulatory issue.
Bullers this week fired off a message to the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities in New York, seeking counsel from a commissioner there who was instrumental in rolling out the new icon in New York City.
“My fear is — and it’s already coming to pass — that the chilling effect of federal financial threats will scare local municipalities from doing what they all agree is the right thing to do — update our outdated 45-year-old access symbol,” Bullers wrote in the message.
Merriam is expected to reconsider its support for the new access signage at its council meeting next Monday, Sept. 29.