Union Station Grand Hall [Photo: Adam Larkey]
Denver's new living room, as the Great Hall at Union Station has been called, came under fire two days ago when a federal law suit was filed by the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC). The disability advocacy group argues that the Regional Transportation District (RTD) and the City of Denver through the Denver Union Station Project Authority have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The operators of the various businesses housed in the newly renovated project have not been named in the action.
At the core of the complaint is a raised area in the center of the space that holds some tables, chairs, and two shuffle boards that the public, as well as those drinking and dining at the various establishments inside the project including the Terminal Bar, Pigtrain Coffee, and Milkbox Ice Creamery, are welcome to use.
"The two steps up to that platform make it completely inaccessible to someone in a wheelchair or other mobility device," says Andrew Montoya, legal program attorney for the CCDC.
There is a portable ramp that is available for that specific area but Montoya argues that such a device is cumbersome, dangerous, and, once again, in violation of the ADA. "We are requesting that they install a permanent ramp. As far as I understand, the shuffleboards are not a problem; the only issue is access to that ramp so a person in a wheelchair can sit up there with their family and enjoy perhaps a slightly better view," Montoya explains.
As of yesterday, the defendants in the action had not yet been served. A phone call to the City of Denver was unreturned. "I am speculating here because I don't know all the facts of the case, but once we figure out what is alleged, we'll take actions to fix it," Joe Vostrejs of Larimer Associates, operators of several of the businesses, says.
In the meantime, the project is hotter every day. Travelers, visitors, and locals alike have flooded the new hot attraction. With the opening of the Cooper Lounge, revelers have an extra reason to make the trek to LoDo. In a mere two weeks, Mercantile Dining & Provision, the last of the restaurants housed there, will open its doors.