Patio Passage

Coffee Bean & Tea in Goleta’s Calle Real Center has a patio set up on the sidewalk in front of the store. When customers sit there enjoying their drinks, they often block the accessible sidewalk. Many people are unaware that they are sitting in the path of someone using a wheelchair until one tries to get by. I do not understand why the Towbes Group, which manages the Center, tolerates this blatant disregard of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I have written them several times without a response. Clearly, there is not adequate room for tables, chairs, and wheelchairs.

Readers should be aware that they are not safe sitting on the “patio.” The other day I watched a van pull into a parking space and come within inches of hitting a father seated holding a young child. There are no wheel stops or bumpers to prevent vehicles from parking over the sidewalks, and the chairs are set almost to the curb. Relaxing on a patio with a cup of coffee should be a pleasurable experience, not high-risk behavior.

I have been told by several businesses that they do not own the property, and they are not responsible for accessibility. So, who is responsible for safety? Who owns Calle Real Center? Who thinks it is a good idea to block access to wheelchairs, violate a federal law, and put the lives of customers at risk just for some patio seating?

We know accidents happen. Can you call it an accident if you know a danger exists and do nothing to prevent it?

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