Galleria’s owner agrees to improve accessibility


CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The largest owner and developer of shopping malls in the Northeast has agreed to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities at its 12 malls in Upstate New York, including the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga, and the largest mall in the state, Destiny USA, in Syracuse.

Investigators for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman cited Pyramid Management Group for non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including restroom doors with insufficient wall clearance, hand dryers blocked by trash cans, and loading and unloading areas adjacent to handicapped parking spaces that posed barriers to people with impaired mobiltiy.

Schneiderman announced a settlement with Pyramid, Thursday, “Many New Yorkers with disabilities find it difficult to get into shopping malls and use them because of architectural barriers.”

Todd Vaarwerk, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for Western New York Independent Living, Inc., credits Walden Galleria officials with trying to do the right thing, but stressed developers need to take accessibility more seriously.

“We hope that sends a message to the broader development community that they have to look at accessibility in a real way, and not as an afterthought in terms of getting things zoned and booked and occupied.”

Terms of the settlement call for Pyramid to retain an ADA consultant for the next three years, refer future construction and improvement plans to the consultant for compliance with the ADA.

Pyramid will also post accessibility maps on their mall websites.. and information for finding complimentary wheelchairs.

“My office has made it a priority to work with disabled New Yorkers, and all disabled people, to remove barriers wherever we can,” added the Attorney General.

The settlement also includes The Shops at West Seneca, and Pyramid agreed to pay the State of New York $160,000 to resolve the investigation.

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