by eila in Accessibility, Arts and Culture, Civil and Human Rights, Development and Zoning, Government Reform, Neighborhoods and Squares, Public Health & Safety, Uncategorized
Posted on February 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm
Last Modified on February 25, 2010 at 11:45 am
1. Union Square Main Streets (USMS) will be holding the Wicked Smaht Trivia contest tomorrow night at the Somerville City Club. That City Club side ramp was constructed incorrectly and is truly an Accident Trap. It’s got a cross-slope of 8.1%, when the standard is 2%. It’s got a two-inch lip at the beginning, so the user can’t even get on and off the thing- not too brightly constructed. In addition, whoever designed the Van-Accessible parking spaces to be in a section where the route to the door doesn’t even coincide with the ramp entrance was not even slightly thinking.
[Above 3 photos, left to right: 1. Ramp cross slope 8.1% (2% is maximum standard). 2. Ramp entrance threshold 2 inches high (1/2 inch beveled is maximum standard) 3. path from HP parking spots leads to City Club stairs entrance (ramp user has to continue down to the street and travel along the perimeter of the site to get to a side lot, where the ramp starts).]
It’s realistic to imagine that USMS folks heard that a ramp existed there, from the City Club, or from colleagues with no credible skills regarding usability and accessibility- and assumed that this is an accessible venue to hold their event. However, USMS receives federal Community Development Block Grant funding, and these still-unfamiliar disAbility rights and access issues call for a respectful learner’s response.
More importantly, it will definitely leave out really smaht and funny people who could also have a chance at winning the ever-desirable Fluffprizes.
2. The City of Somerville, with it’s clear mandates and civil rights obligations from Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, continues to be really , truly, obviously unskilled at inclusive community-building.
In Mayor Joseph Curtatone’s case, the fellow is a lawyer, has been at the game since his Alderman days, and very definitely has had Access and Inclusion issues placed on his desk with precision and detail, for a good number of years.
I guess Joe’s Just More Comfortable Saying No.
Last week, Joe rolled out a new Library-administered program, called Somerville Reads. It will be the City’s first “one city, one book” campaign. The chosen book is: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. The program is supported by a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Service and Technology Act administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.
This just sounds terrific. But so far, one-third (3 out of 9) of these planned events will utterly exclude thousands of city residents who can’t climb stairs and/or aren’t able-bodied enough to deal with the ongoing street and facility safety and access issues that our elected Deciders are willfully ignoring.
The three inaccessible events are: the kick-off concert at the Armory, the book/movie discussion at the West Branch Library, and the final concert at the Nave to benefit The New England Center for HomelessVeterans.
Library Director Milnor (who failed to respond to my correspondence regarding the completely exclusionary West Library event) says, in the City PR: “TimO’Brien’s book presents ideas and issues that bridge generational gaps. Somerville Reads encourages all residents –veterans, immigrants, teens, parents, teachers – to come together to learn and share.”
It’s not true. All residents are not being encouraged. Veterans with ambulatory and mobility issues, immigrants with ambulatory and mobility issues, teens with… parents with… teachers with…yeah, you got it… THEY will NOT be crossing those community bridges.
Here’s the things THEY carry: Being treated as trivial. Being treated as burdensome. Being sidelined by thoughtlessness. Being kicked back when offering every practical idea. Being served by people with no experience, no mercy, no kindness, and alot of dumb. A hard-won learning regarding the law, citations, statutes, regulations, ordinances and human rights obligations. A wicked sense of humor. A twinkle in the eye. Being in the know with nowhere to go.
[Above photo: West Somerville Public Library, circa 2010. A municipal and neighborhood refuge only for the able-bodied, with 11 steps in front.]