Moving Right Along
If you need the lift, even if you are not in a wheelchair, you are entitled to use it. If the driver refuses, tell him he has to board you on the lift. If he still refuses, get the time, location, and bus number and route, and report the driver to Bus Customer Relations at (888) 692-8287 or the Transit Authority General Complaint Number 718-330-3322. You are also entitled to have the driver kneel the bus and move the bus to a curb if he or she cannot get to the curb at the bus stop. If you need help boarding or disembarking from the bus, the bus driver has to help you if you ask. Some people in manual wheelchairs cannot get up the steep lifts on the front loading buses, especially when the bus driver does not pull over to the curb. Then he or she has to get out and push you up the ramp if you need it.
The U.S. Department of Transportation today offered airlines a training program that will make it easier for them to comply with laws protecting the rights of disabled air travelers.
The new model training program highlights practices found by airlines to work best in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities. The training program is designed to help airlines comply with the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which prohibits discriminatory treatment of persons with disabilities in air transportation. While airlines are not required to implement the model training program, the Department encourages carriers to use it to complement their existing disabled access training programs.
"Everyone has a right to be treated equally when they travel by air," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.
"This new model training program is part of our effort to help the airlines provide disabled travelers with the service to which they are entitled."
The training program provides guidance for employees and contractors of air carriers that serve passengers with disabilities. The program suggests practices and procedures for airline personnel to follow to help disabled travelers with boarding, deplaning and making connections, as well as information on the airlines' responsibilities in such areas as service animals and assistive devices. The program consists of three components: a manual for participants, an outline for trainers, and a PowerPoint presentation, which carriers may use separately or together depending upon their individual needs.
The model training program builds on a technical assistance manual, completed in July 2005, on air carriers' responsibilities under the ACAA. DOT's outreach efforts to the carriers also have included regular forums, beginning in May 2001, on how to improve air travel for passenger with disabilities.
Details on the model training program, as well as the text of the technical assistance manual, are available on the Internet at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/training/index.htm
DOT 185-05 Thursday, December 22, 2005
Contact: Bill Mosley Tel.: (202) 366-4570
December 5, 2005 - Albany - AP - Did you catch the new movie that everyone's talking about at school and at work? If you're visually or hearing impaired, there's a good chance you couldn't. But that's slowly changing.
Nationwide, more than 150 movie theaters have added special systems to help the deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, according to the nonprofit National Center for Accessible Media.
Most of those theaters are in major cities that made the move voluntarily, but states are now putting pressure on theater chains to spread the technology much further or risk discrimination lawsuits.
A deal being announced in New York today involves eight national theater chains. The chains agreed to implement technology to help the visually and hearing impaired enjoy movies in 140 theaters across New York State - up from about a dozen now.
"Movies are an important part of popular culture," said New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
New York theaters will add rear window captioning, in which hearing disabled customers can use an acrylic panel to read captioning projected from the back of the theater.
Thirty-eight of the New York theaters will provide on-screen captioning of some movies and headsets that offer descriptive narration of films under the deal.
My Body Politic
While hitchhiking from Boston to Washington, D.C., in 1971 to protest the war in Vietnam, Simi Linton was involved in a car accident that paralyzed her legs and took the lives of her young husband and her best friend. Her memoir begins with her struggle to regain physical and emotional strength and to resume her life in the world. Then Linton takes us on the road she traveled (with stops in Berkeley, Paris, Havana) and back to her home in Manhattan, as she learns what it means to be a disabled person in America.
Read this book!
The Access Board has issued a comparison between the new ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), the original ADA standards, and the International Building Code. This side-by-side comparison is arranged and ordered according to the format and sequence of the new ADAAG, which the Board published in July 2004. Provisions in the ADA Standards maintained by the Department of Justice, which currently are based on the original ADAAG (1991), are provided alongside corresponding sections of the new ADAAG. The Department of Justice is in the process of updating its ADA standards according to the new ADAAG. The comparison is available in a variety of formats on the Boardís website at www.access-board.gov/ada-aba/comparison/index.htm.
In updating ADAAG, the Board sought to reconcile differences from model building codes, including the International Building Code (IBC). Used by a growing number of states and local jurisdictions, the IBC contains scoping provisions for accessibility and references the technical criteria of the ANSI A117.1 standard, a voluntary consensus standard issued by American National Standards Institute. The comparison includes accessibility provisions of the IBC, including those referenced in the ANSI standard. For further information on the IBC, visit the International Code Council's website at www.iccsafe.org.
There are 12,787 yellow taxis in NYC and only 25 of them are wheelchair-accessible. Your chances of finding one that is where you are and available are miniscule. Thatís why Taxis for ALL Campaign is working to change the situation. Taxis for ALL Campaign is a coalition of disability rights groups and groups interested in disability rights: Disabled In Action (DIA), Disability Network of New York City (DNNYC), United Spinal Association (USA), Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York (CIDNY), the MS Society, the Anti-Discrimination Law Center of Metro New York, and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI). Many other groups support our work. We are working for accessible yellow cabs as well as accessible liveries, black cars, and limousines in NYC. We WILL ride!
Next April, in 2006, sculptor Martin Dawe is going to make an accurate statue of FDR, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for the 62nd anniversary of FDR's death. The statue will be placed in F.D. Roosevelt Park in Georgia, near a town called Warm Springs, which is also the name of a rehabilitation facility that FDR founded and loved to relax in. When he was at Warm Springs, FDR, who was disabled from polio as an adult and could not walk, used a wheelchair in public, wore his braces on the outside of his trousers, and did not hide his disability.
Before and during his four-term presidency, Roosevelt, who was president during almost all of World War II, hid his disability, kept his braces out of sight, and was not photographed using a wheelchair. When he had to appear in public, he had a strong man on each side and they helped propel him forward using his arms. In order to appear strong and in control (and probably to keep power), FDR did not want people to know he was disabled. An excellent book about FDR and his disability is FDR's Splendid Deception, by Hugh Gregory Gallagher.
This new statue of FDR will be the first one of him showing him wearing his leg braces. He will be depicted sitting on a car seat because that is what he used to do sometimes when he was relaxing in Alabama. Secret service agents would remove the car seat from his car and put it on a rock so he could sit on the seat and look out at the view and think.
Both MTA Bus and New York City Transit (NYCT) Bus Departmentís rules say that wheelchair users can board the lift going forward or backward, whichever way the wheelchair user is most comfortable doing. It is NOT up to the driver to decide. It is up to the passenger to decide which way he or she boards the lift and the bus. If there is a dispute, you ask the driver to
"call console" and the driver will be told by the Command Center to let you board.
Recently, a NYCT bus driver refused to let me board going forward. He took the bus out of service for about 30 minutes until 2 supervisors came and ordered him to let me board forward and drive me to my destination. In the meantime, the passengers blamed me for making them late to work. They got out of the bus, came close to me, and hurled insults at me in voices full of hate.
"You selfish b----!"
"Take a taxi!"
"People like YOU shouldnít take the bus, you should take Access-a-Ride!
It shows that discrimination and prejudice against people with disabilities is alive and well in New York City.
If your apartment elevator is broken for a substantial amount of time or if it is going to be replaced and you will be trapped in or out of your apartment for a substantial amount of time, the landlord OR coop board are responsible for paying for you to live in alternate, accessible living quarters. One DIA member, a wheelchair user, recently lived in a motel for several months while her building got a new elevator installed. Other people, whose elevator has been in disrepair for months, have been able to be moved to a temporary and accessible apartment. The Human Rights Commission at 212-306-7330 can help you.
On April 25th, 2006, Daniel Porro won an Award for Community Advocate for the Disabled given out by the Commission on the Publicís Health System in New York City. Congratulations, Daniel! Our next issue will have an article about some of Danielís experiences fighting for his rights and the rights of others to get care in public hospitals.
As written in the awards program, Daniel
"has lived in the Bronx almost all of his life. He went to Stevenson High School in the Bronx, where he was in Special Education classes because of his dyslexia and reading problems. After graduating with a vocational certificate, Daniel worked as a jeweler for ten years and then went to work for the NYC Housing Authority. Daniel met Reverend Sharpton and has been active in the National Action Network for the last seven years, particularly focusing on people with disabilities. He is also very active in the Bronx Mental Health Council and its subcommittees, and monitors how services are provided to residents of the Bronx. He is a representative of the Bronx Council on the Mental Hygiene Executive Federation, which is citywide."
"Daniel has learned how to speak out on issues of importance to the disabled community and he does! Daniel is getting tutoring on a scholarship from the Fisher-Landau Center, a special institute for learning disabilities, and is an intern in the Mayorís Office for People with Disabilities. He is a member of Disabled In Action, and has recently joined their singing group. Daniel does not allow his disability to interfere with his role as an important contributor to the advocacy world in the city. His serious approach to issues makes him an important contributor to CPHS and other organizations."
On Wednesday, December 7, 2005, Governor George E. Pataki today announced State funding awards worth over $10.2 million to help New York seniors and those with disabilities to remain in their homes and out of nursing homes. These awards mark the first round of funding under the Stateís new
Access to Home program launched by the Governor earlier this year in his State of the State address.
The following is the link to the complete press release: http://www.ny.gov/governor/press/05/1207053.htm