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.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The New Guy In Town

S C O O P ! ! !

There is a new rag in Cambridge and it is a daily! Already it is making the news! (Pun intended!) Since the usual suspects either don't publish daily, or ignor news fit for persons of all abilities, the Cambridge Day scores a scoop almost every day.

So, do I need to worry? Will this upstart threaten my nitch blog? After all, why read the news on my blog when you can read it daily in the Cambridge Day? So far, so good, they are covering all sorts of interesting stuff; ie, the peoples news. We will have to see if they can carry on.

Since they are not on line, you may wish to write to them for a copy of their stories of interest, Cambridge Day, 1 Orchard St. No 1, Cambridge MA, 02140, or e-mail Marc Levy,

They hit the streets the first week of Nov, and their first Disabilities story came on Thursday, Nov 3rd; a front page piece.."Disabled fault city's ADA effort," by Rick Guinness. They ran a front page follow-up ubove the fold Nov 8th, "City responds on ADA" by Rick Guinness, with sub heading..."Leaders on efforts, also handicapped admit flaws on act. Continued on page 7, the heading pleases us by aniuncing "City officials concede imperfections in ADA."


Now, why do I so gleefully type YES!! Am I happy that our beloved City handicapps PWD's every day? Certainly not. But we cna't begin to fix something if we cannot agree it needs to be fixed.

So, accepting thet the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1990, Public Law 101-336 applys to Cities, under Title II is a first step in doing the right thing. Now, what do I mean by doing the right thing? Well it means that corrective action must be taken, not just adding words like we do not discriminate, or the ADA must be followed. It meand not only adopting, but PUBLICIZING a grievence proceedure! It means a lot more than that, for sure, but since the City has been in denial for the past 5 years at least, this public affirmination that they need to address compliance is a first step.