Californians for Disability Rights Inc., the California Council for the Blind, Rockwell, and Dimitri Belser, 51, of Berkeley, who has a vision impairment, filed the federal lawsuit in August 2006. They alleged that Caltrans had violated the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal law that requires improvements in accessibility whenever sidewalks or other pedestrian facilities are built or undergo major repairs.
The lawsuits specifically mention Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach and California 13, known in Berkeley as Ashby Avenue. Shortly after the case against Caltrans went to trial in September, U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong discontinued the testimony and ordered both sides to discuss the possibility of a settlement. "We have always been trying to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Ronald Beals, Caltrans' chief counsel. "But we knew there were needs out there and we wanted to do the best we could to work with the community. I think we can fix most of these problems."