About Latitude Artist Community

Latitude Artist Community serves all people - with an emphasis on those thought by some to have a disability - by creating meaningful, inclusive community interactions which allow participating artists to contribute culturally and politically to the life of their community.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Barriers to Wheelchairs by Macy Early (Lexington Herald-Leader, letter to editor)

This letter appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader, July 11, 2010
This is one of the best letters we have seen on accessibility issues.
Macy is a High School student here in Lexington who took one of PEAL's "Inaccessibility Tours" in June. We look forward to hearing from Macy for many years to come!

Barriers to wheelchairs

Having lived in Lexington for 14 years, I was shocked to learn that faulty design often inhibits the city's handicapped.

There are more than 42,000 individuals in Fayette County living with disabilities, yet in just one downtown block, countless barriers prevent those in wheelchairs from maneuvering the streets including misplaced curb-cuts, slanted sidewalks, heavy pull doors without handicapped buttons, uneven bricks and poorly designed wheelchair ramps.

Each of these small barriers add up quickly, making it difficult and sometimes entirely impossible for a disabled individual to traverse downtown.

It is atrocious that citizens would be effectively barred from entering shopping centers such as Victorian Square simply because of carelessness of design.

Next time you are downtown, imagine yourself in a wheelchair. How would you prevent yourself from being carried by momentum into the middle of oncoming traffic in the instance of a misplaced curb-cut?

What would you have to do to enter businesses such as Starbucks and Sawyers and even the Opera House?

What in your daily routine would you be forced to change if you were living with a disability?

To find out more information about the barriers faced by the disabled and ways in which you can help, visit the Project Easy Access Lexington (PEAL) Web site at www.pealarchive.blogspot.com .

It is up to us to ensure that each member of this city has equal opportunity to enjoy his or her home.

Macy Early