Press Club

Accessibility Changes Coming to Crystal City Shops

Former Hamburger Hamlet in the shops at Crystal CityThe Crystal City Shops will become more accessible thanks to an agreement reached between property owner Vornado and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A citizen’s complaint led federal prosecutors to investigate the indoor shopping concourse, which runs along Crystal Drive and connects with the Crystal City Metro station. The complaint stated that portions of the shops are inaccessible to those with disabilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

As a result of the agreement, Vornado will build ramps or lifts in portions of the shopping center that were previously only accessible by stairs. New signage, accessible parking spaces and accessible restroom fixtures will also be added.

The press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, after the jump.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced today a compliance agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Vornado/Charles E. Smith related to the Crystal City Shops and City Underground, which is an interior pedestrian concourse located in Arlington County, to improve accessibility to persons with disabilities through the removal of architectural barriers.

“This significant compliance agreement exemplifies our commitment to protect the rights of people with disabilities,” said U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente.  “The corrective measures agreed to will allow people with mobility disabilities and impaired vision to have an improved opportunity to enjoy the Crystal City Shops and Underground.”

The investigation began with a complaint from the public alleging that the Crystal City Shops and Underground violated the ADA by failing to ensure the accessibility of the interior pedestrian concourse which connects underground and grade level retail shops, service establishments, restaurants, theaters, hotels, office buildings, residential buildings and the Crystal City Metro Station.  The pedestrian concourse spans from 12th Street South to 23rd Street South in Arlington, and is composed of five sections connected by tunnels.  The Crystal City neighborhood is home to a high density of hotel rooms, residences, offices, and multiple federal agencies.

In addition to remedial measures that Vornado/Charles E. Smith took during the course of the investigation, the compliance agreement requires that Vornado/Charles E. Smith make a number of changes to increase accessibility, including:

  • Performing alterations to Section D of the Crystal City Shops and Underground to ensure that retail space that is currently accessible only by stairs will be made accessible to individuals with disabilities who use mobility devices.
  • Installing ADA compliant handrails in various tunnels that connect multiple sections of the Crystal City Underground.
  • Installing a lift at the stairs in front of the Crystal City Marriott lower level lobby entrance in order to provide an accessible route from the accessible plaza level.
  • Creating new accessible parking spaces and relocating others.
  • Installing signage that will direct the public to accessible entrances and routes of travel.
  • Modifying restrooms to have the appropriate accessible features.
  • Updating the maps throughout the pedestrian concourse and on its website showing accessible entrances and routes.

This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Gordon, who serves as the Civil Rights Enforcement Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

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