Saturday, November 12, 2005

Why Is This Man Waliking In The Street?

The Unintended Consequences Of Using Bricks On Sidewalks is to create a barrier. Here we see a senior with a significant disability has to vie with trucks on the City street, in order to get to Central Square!

Why, you wonder, isn't he endangered in the street? Wouldn't he be safer on the sidewalk? Even if the bricks did snag his walker once in a while, and cause him to fall, wouldn't someone come to his aid? Doesn't the City provide 911 cell phones? He could call for help? Assuming, of course, he wasn't knocked out when he fell.

Perhaps we believe he can see the cracks, the broken spaces in the bricks, and avoid them? Can he see them? Can people who have vision problems see them? Can the Blind see them? Can we see them?

Using bricks on sidewalks is not a neighborly thing to do. It handicaps our most vulnerable residents, not to mention visitors to our "beautiful" City. Visitors to our City want to SEE history, not TRIP over it!

On Monday, next, In City Council, number 3, on the City Manager's Adgenda, is the report back on the City's Policy on using BRICKS on sidewalks. No surprise to me, this policy, and the attached program, are NON COMPLIANT with the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1990, The Americans With Disabilities Act, the ADA, and the Architectural Access Board!

In fact, here is one issue, the use of BRICKS on sidewalks, that the City's Disablities Commission has actually taken a position on, but this report does not even mention the concerns of the Disabilities Commission. It is as though Michael Muehe, and the Commission For persons With Disabilities does not even exist! So, at the commission's meeting Thursday evening, I asked that they send to the City Council the "letter" they voted on unanamously, and sent in response to the super expensive Harvard Square rehab project.

I am asking that the City Council TABLE this report, untill we can get to them the acurate and correct information they need, before they decide what to do with this ILLEGAL program, and report it is attached to!

For example, one blarring example of ignorance is the City's classification of "vertical displacement" into three categories. The first puts a vertical displacement of under 3/4" on a watch list and reinspects in a year. The ADA and Access Board requirement is that a vertical displacement of 1/4 of an inch must be beveled.

When access is continually denied due to disrepair, it is a violation of the civil rights of those who need access to all the benifits, programs and services of their community. That is one reason the T has come to an agreement on the suit filed against them, cronic disrepair of the elevators. Here in Cambridge, our sidewalks are in chronic disrepair, due to a non compliant "Sidewalk Inspection and Minor Repair Program."

So, there are many non compliant elements in the City's policies on using BRICKS on sidewalks, but the only two I have mentioned here, due to time constraints and length, are 1., Failing to include PWD's in this policy making effort, and 2., non compliant assessment of vertical displacement.

Therefore, I am asking the City Council to Table this report, so we can have time to make our concerns known, and to present the correct information to the City Council, BEFORE they decide on the disposition of this offensive report.


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