Today’s news:

Disabled blocked!

A shallow step at a doorway may not be a big deal for most residents of Bay Ridge. But, a height differential of just an inch or two can make the difference between getting in or remaining on the sidewalk for area resident Jean Ryan, who uses a wheelchair. Ryan, a member of Community Board 10, said she decided to speak up about the matter at the board after finding herself shut out of the board’s Christmas party, “Because of a four-inch step. “This is what my life is like now, and what life is like for other wheelchair users,” Ryan told fellow board members gathered in the community room at Shore Hill, 9000 Shore Road, for their December meeting. “I use a wheelchair for freedom, not confinement,” stressed Ryan, “but when there are barriers, I’m limited not by my disability but by the environment.” That, unfortunately, happens way too often in Bay Ridge, attested Ryan. “Bay Ridge is very inaccessible to wheelchairs,” she told her listeners, noting, “Some people really need wheelchairs but don’t want to use them because they know they won’t be able to get into the hairdresser’s, they won’t be able to get into a restaurant they like, they won’t be able to get into their doctor’s office. “It’s absolutely impossible for somebody in a wheelchair to become an active part of the community because they can’t get into these places,” Ryan went on – a situation, she emphasized, that persists, despite the existence of the 16-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which Ryan called “a weak law.” It’s also a law apparently more honored in the breach than the observance. “People have to enforce it,” Ryan contended. “My challenge to you as leaders of Bay Ridge,” she told the board members, “is how to make Bay Ridge accessible to people with disabilities, now and in the future.” How can this be done? While, Ryan said, her efforts to make different locations wheelchair-accessible have largely been “met with huge resistance,” there are steps that can be taken to get owners of different businesses to comply, such as turning down requests for sidewalk café permits from restaurants that are inaccessible. “You have to do something,” Ryan urged. “Don’t just go to your next meeting or restaurant and walk up the steps. Do something, say something. It really affects all of us.” The board will soon be looking into the issue. After Ryan spoke, Craig Eaton, the retiring chairperson, committed the matter to the board’s Health & Welfare Committee for investigation.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group