Public meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 28 to gather community feedback

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A report detailing an exhaustive six-month evaluation of the city’s accessibility is now available at www.somervillema.gov/departments/personnel/ADA and by clicking the link “Self-Evaluation Plan” on the right-hand side of the page.

Two public meetings will be held in August and in September, cosponsored by the city’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities, to gather community feedback that will develop this Self-Evaluation report into a living, multi-year Transition Plan to create equal access for all to the city’s streets, sidewalks, buildings, parks and programs. The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. at City Hall. A second meeting will be scheduled for September. Residents can also send questions and comments on the report via e-mail or phone.

The completed Self-Evaluation, which outlines a physical inventory of the city’s infrastructure and existing policies, practices and procedures regarding accessibility and identifies existing barriers to equal access, was delivered to the city on August 12 by the nonprofit Institute for Human Centered Design Firm of Boston, which the city had contracted. This report will form the basis for the Transition Plan which, when combined with public input, will detail the methodology and outline the time frame for removing those barriers.

“Public feedback is critical to assisting the City in prioritizing the barriers and issues identified in the Self-Evaluation that, if addressed, can make an immediate and meaningful difference in residents’ daily lives,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “This is a process years in the making and the city owes thanks to the community, the Somerville Commission for Persons with Disabilities and especially advocates such as Eileen Feldman and the Somerville Disabilities Rights Commission, who shined a spotlight on these issues. Thanks to their advocacy and work, these plans are becoming reality. I am committed to seeing this plan accomplished in full and the city proactively maintaining accessibility throughout our community.”

“The singular goal of the ADA is to enable persons with disabilities to lead full lives and to actively and equally participate in every aspect of their community, and Mayor Curtatone has made it clear to me and the rest of the staff that he wants to leave no one behind,” said Betsy Allen, the City’s ADA Coordinator. “The change advocates like Eileen Feldman sought so passionately is near. It is happening every day.  Now, we call on these advocates and the entire city to own, shape and mold this change. The result we seek—a fuller and more integrated life for all–cannot happen without the continued passion, commitment and involvement of these advocates and others. The making of Somerville into a model of inclusiveness is a project worthy of our time, our commitment and the result will benefit all of us. Now is not the time to sit back, to be passive and silent. In keeping with the requirement and the spirit of the ADA, we want to see you and we want to hear from you.”

The Self-Evaluation and Transition plans are part of the city’s overall efforts to address accessibility throughout Somerville, along with the new Streetscape Plan and the active contributions of the Somerville Commission for Persons with Disabilities. The Commission meets monthly and works with the ADA Coordinator to knock down barriers. New Commission members are welcome.

To learn more about the city’s comprehensive plans to create equal access for all, please contact ADA Coordinator Betsy Allen at 617-625-6600 ext. 2323 or by email at ballen@somervillema.gov.

 

11 Responses to “City’s accessibility self-evaluation available for resident review”

  1. A. Moore says:

    First thing is get rid of those brick street crossings and brick sidewalks. Both of my parents have gone down on the street crossing ones. Problem is they wouldn’t sue even to open their eyes to this. First one was when they first started them, second one was this year. They have called and wrote about these from the start. Anything new being built should allow access to everyone. I understand the problem with old construction which can be difficult, but no excuse for new stuff.

  2. no sense says:

    everyone understands old buildings, but read this–the Kennedy? recently overhauled and no wheelchair entrance to pool. no access to school stage. problems with showers, lockers, etc. Capuano? even newer. what’s going on? other cities and towns are light years ahead of us.

  3. Marie says:

    Agreed about the Kennedy pool. Funny thing is, we got funding for the school and pool because the pool would be used for Special Education classes!

  4. Ray Spitzer says:

    My main concern is accessibility of ANYTHING on days when it freezes over and the sidewalks are slippery mirrors and people have to walk in the middle of the street because many sidewalks are buried by 4 feet of plowed snow. And there are many winters with a lot of such days!

  5. no sense says:

    ray spritzer, how far off topic can you go? this is about physical access to buildings and services, and you’re talking snow. get a grip

  6. Larry says:

    This is the city of the haves and have-nots. If you have a disability – with this mayor – you fall into the have-not crowd and are SOL. It’s always been that way. The haves are the liberal nitwits willing to pay top $$ for condos and to the mayor’s buddies, but would never dream to send their kids to Somerville public schools.

    It’s not right, but it is what it is. If you’re smart you bail when 1) you have kids or 2) you get old.

  7. ritepride says:

    If you go up streets you find that at some intersections they have the handicapped cutouts at the curb, then you go up the same street one or two blocks and there are no cutouts at the curbs. Instead of the mayor worrying about stopping casinos and taking care of the developers, he should start paying attention to “ALL” of the residents

  8. Barry the Pig says:

    Ray has a good point. In Winter nothing is accessible, especially for elderly people.

  9. truly a pig says:

    pig & ray — try to grasp the subject. if you want to talk about snow, find an article where snow is the actual topic. we’re talking about basic city services unavailable to people with physical disabilities. it’s rare for attention to shine on this topic, so knock it off.

  10. Jane says:

    I thought we were talking about the city’s accessibility. Having snow on the sidewalk, or a sidewalk pushed up by tree roots, makes it inaccessible to even those who are not disabled. And you have touched on an interesting point. The entire problem is that “it’s rare for attention to shine on this topic”. Perhaps if the city paid more attention there wouldn’t be so much inaccessibility in the city.

  11. KrisKringle says:

    Unlike other cities, Somerville has the rare distinction of having a mayor who openly, actively and also secretly cultivated a culture of retaliation, disdain, and hostility towards knowledgeable ‘Villens with disabilities and Somerville Seniors. Is he turning the corner now? Or is he just ramping up his campaign?

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