Friday, March 31, 2006

Is This Gravel Loose?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Civil Rights and Discrimination Against PWD's at City Hall, Cambridge, MA.

Here is a current photo of City Hall, Cambridge, MA. located at 795 Mass Ave. Sited on a hill in Central Square, there is a double flight of steps leading up to the first floor. These steps present a barrier for persons with mobility disabilities. The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1990, also known as the ADA, states that under Title II, Cities and Towns must identify and remove barriers to programs, services and benifits offered by the City. How will this formidible barrier of a steep stairway be "removed" by the City of Cambridge?

In responce to this challenge, the City of Cambridge decided it was unfeasable to try to modify the stairway. Instead they decided to provide access to City Hall for PWD's by directing them to an accessible rear entrance/egress located in the Rear of City Hall. A sign on the corner of the front lawn now directs PWD's to the accessible entrance. This walkway is an accessible route. It leads around the building to the back, where a small parking lot is located.

If we follow the accessible route around the building we come to the parking area at the rear, and where the "handicapped" accessible door is located. Perhaps you can see it, on the otherside of the van, which is blocking this accessible entrance. In this small parking lot, the roadway is also the walkway, and the accessible route. One must enter the door, which is equipped with a push control to opperate the door. On the right there is a designated Handicapped Parking space. As you can see from this photo, if a car were to park in the Designated HP space, it would be difficult, if not impossible for a Person with a mobility disability to "squeese through" the few inches that would be left.

The way this van is parked, it is blocking an accessible route. It means that PWD's do not have ready access to City Hall.

It is also blocking an emergency egress to City Hall. Were there to be an emergency, folks rushing out the door would be pressed against the van, and be unable to get away from the building. this is a serious public safety issue, as well as a violation of the ADA.

The City needs to place a "no parking" sign adjacent to this rear entrance/egress, and remove the sign that allows "city council" to park blocking this door. In addition, lines should be painted on the pavement marking the no parking zone. Looking at these photos, where would an ambulence or fire engine park to provide emergency services?

What is an emergency exit?

Tue, 28 Mar 2006 13:14:21 -0800 (PST)
"Kathryn Podgers" View Contact Details Add Mobile Alert Yahoo! DomainKeys has confirmed that this message was sent by Learn more
Taking photographs of rear entrance inside City Hall is not against the law and where is the emergency exit?
"Mayor Ken Reeves"
"Kathy Podgers"

Dear Mayor Reeves,

Today I went to rear entrance/exit at City Hall to make some measurements, and take some more photographs in the daytime.

Your staff person, appeared, and I asked him if the back entrance leading to the parking at the rear of City Hall was the emergency exit. He informed me he did not know. I showed him the car immediately outside the door, and blocking the walkway, and took a photo of it.

Your staff person told me I couldn't take photos inside City Hall. I then took a couple more, and told him I believed that City Hall was a public building and I thought it would be OK to take pictures. He repeted that it was against the law.

I asked him again if this exit was the emergency exit, and he replied it was the handicapped exit.

I am formally requesting that you have emercency exit signs placed in the appropiate, and required places, so folks can find their way out, should there be an emergency.

Furthermore, please have formal training for staff in City Hall, so they, and any of the public who may ask, will know where and how to exit City Hall. I would think staff would need to know where the emergency exits are, so in an emergency, they can direct members of the public out safely.

Please inform your staff person, that I have spoken with Lt Ahearn, of the Cambridge Police, and he informed me that your staff person is incorrect. I have been assured, by the police, that I have committed no crime by taking a photo from the inside of City Hall, and showing there is no sign marking this exit as an emergency exit.

Please respond to this e-mail, and let me know what action you are taking in this matter.


Kathy Podgers
148 Pearl St
Cambridge MA 02139
March 28, 2006

Inspectional Services Complaint #3950

Here is a photo I took at City Hall, at the rear entrance, which is also the "handicapped" entrance. Monday March 27th, at 5:45pm. I was trying to attend the City Council meeting with the School Committee, but as you can see, the entrance to the building was blocked by this van. More importantly, the egress to the building is blocked! I called the police, but was informed that nothing could be done about this, as there not only was no "no parking sign," and no lines on the pavement, but there was a sign allowing vehicles to park along the back wall, and blocking this unmarked emergency egress! Below is the e-mail I sent to Robert Anderson at the Department of Public Safety, State of Mass. I did file a complaint with City of cambridge Inspectional Services this afternoon, # 3950. Emergency management should begin at City Hall!!!!

Tue, 28 Mar 2006 08:27:10 -0800 (PST)
"Kathryn Podgers" View Contact Details Add Mobile Alert
Egres in Rear of 795 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA repetedly blocked with parked vehicles
"Kathy Podgers"

Dear Mr Anderson,

I am writing to you to express my most urgent concerns about a safety issue that I have not been able to resolve.

City Hall, Cambridge MA has a rear entrance/exit and a small parking area to one side and designated Handicapped Parking, DHP, to the other side.

Often, this entrance/exit is blocked by parked vehicles.

The driveway also serves as the walkway.

There is no accessable Handicapped Parking.

This entrance/exit is the only handicapped accessible entrance/exit for persons with mobility disabilities.

This entrance/exit is equipped with an auto door opener, accessed with a push control to the left of the door. The door swings open into the driveway/walkway.

You could imaging a U with a driveway/walkway up the middle, and the door in the center of the U.

Last evening, at 5:45 pm, when I went to the City Council meeting with the public schools, a public meeting I observed this entrance/exit to be blocked by a large van. Having complained many times before, to no avail, I called the police. It took the police 20 min to respond, although this building is located immediately in central Sq, and 2 blocks from City Hall.

The police officer told me he could not ticket the van, anr cause it to be removed as there were no markings showing that it couldn't park there, and there was a sign that allowed it to park there. I pointed out the sign was a moveable sign, and should not be located immediately adjacent to the entrance/exit door the this building. The officer informed me there was nothing he could do about it.

The City Council Clerk did remove the van, after I informed her I would file a civil rights complaint if she did not. (the van was also blocking the HP space. Then, while the officer was still there, another car parked in front of the door. It was the Vice Mayor, who chastized me, saying, "Oh, Kathy, common now..."

Had a car parked in the HP space, while the van was there, no one would have been able to get away from the building, as there is a stairway at the other end of the van.

It is my understanding that an entrance/exit should not allow parking withing so many feet, and should be marked, and with a sign, so as to ensure the emergency exit of folks inside.

I am concerned, as this problem recurrs whenever there are large public meetings, and there are no clear markings, and there is no one outside to direct the "overflow" parking. I am also concerned because there is a moveable sign, and which last evening eas located immediately nect to the entrance/exit of the building.

I plan to make a writen complaint at the Inspectional services later thisafternoon. I was told to come between 3:30 and 4pm.

I have taken photos dempnstrating the problem that I observed last night.


Kathy Podgers
148 Pearl St
Cambridge MA 02139
March 28, 2006
617 642 3154