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?


Post a Comment

<< Home