Subject: f/u, February 6 2012 AAB hearingFrom: CAPSom@verizon.netDate: February 9, 2012 3:38:02 AM ESTTo: DSHAPIRO@somervillema.govCc: Thomas.Hopkins@state.ma.us, Myra.Berloff@state.ma.us,email@example.comFebruary 9, 2012TO: David P. Shapiro, Assistant City Solicitor, City of SomervilleFROM: Eileen Feldman, Director, Community Access Project, SomervilleRE: Follow-Up, Architectural Access Board Hearing regarding #V11-201 February6, 2012, 1 pmDear Assistant City Solicitor David Shapiro,It was a pleasure to meet you this past Monday at the Architectural Access BoardHearing on the Citys Variance application, AAB Docket #V11-201, regarding 50pedestrian facility locations that are next on the list for remediation during the nextseveral construction seasons, due to 521CMR violations.In the interests of advancing the best possible scenario for the City of Somerville tosucceed in responding to these matters, I would like to offer the following three (3)points to guide the Citys response.In addition, below my signature, I am including online links to selected PublicComment and other documents that I provided to the City of Somerville, sinceNovember, 2005, in efforts to help guide and work with Mayor Curtatone and CityStaff colleagues, towards mitigation of citywide streetscape and transportationfacility issues.
1. In prioritizing locations, the Community Access Project suggests the followingorder of priorities:By proximity to:a. government offices, facilities and services;b. public transportation facilities;c. places of public accommodations, including employment opportunities;d. health-related facilities and elderly/disabled housing; ande. density of residential streets;in addition to:utilizing checklists and surveys that coordinate the 521CMR standards withthe 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design- and choosing the most stringentrequirements, the City should prioritize the most unsafe (inaccessible) conditionsfirst.These priorities are based on ADA regulations found at 28 CFR §35.150(d)(2) and28 CFR §35.150(d)(3).2. If the City will also be using some CDBG funding to accomplish thesecorrections, please be aware that CDBG funding needs to be used to supplement-and not supplant- the Citys overall efforts to accomplish the development of viablecommunities by the provision of decent housing and a suitable living environmentand expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low-and moderate- income.3. I heard you state, towards the end of the Hearing, that, "none of these are publicsafety issues." Please be aware that each of these code violations is, by definition,a public safety issue. If the City of Somerville is unable to acknowledge the seriousand continuing negative impact that systemic and citywide 521CMR violationshave on the daily lives of residents, and especially residents with disAbilities, thiswill indeed be a very long, grueling process of prosecution.The hoped-for alternative is that these State Board processes will eventually resultin the recognition, by all parties in front of the Board, that a meaningful series ofmeetings and other mutually beneficial projects between disAbility and otherhuman rights advocates , City staff, and other interested individuals is possible andnecessary-- and that we all desire the development of mutually beneficial trust,goals and a practical action plan that will enable the City of Somerville to growinto a city of opportunity for all.I would appreciate your acknowledgement of this email and welcome anyquestions or remarks that you would like to share with me.
I am forwarding a copy of this email to Thomas Hopkins, Executive Director,Architectural Access Board; Myra Berloff, Executive Director, Massachusetts Officeon Disability; and Alderman at Large Bill White, Board of Alderman Vice-President and Chairperson, Public Health and Public Safety Committee.Very best wishes,Eileen Feldman, directorCommunity Access Project, SomervilleCAPSom@verizon.netQuality isnt possible without EqualityThe Community Access Project based out of Somerville, MA is an all-volunteerorganization of persons of all ages, living with disAbilities, and working to ensurethat equity, integration and accessibility are not merely rhetorical promises made toensure continued funding and nodding heads. We provide surveys,recommendations and reports, per the requests of very low-income communitymembers, to promote and increase documentation and actions towards moreinclusive community planning and implementation. note: CAPS does not endorsethat any of our members provide their knowledge, proven skills, talents and lifelongexperiences within settings where we will be exploited as free labor, or as"disability volunteers," by agencies, organizations or individuals who wish for, orrequire, skilled consultation on disAbility rights issues in order to apply for, certifycompliance with, or continue funding for, programs, services and activities. -------
The 5 documents listed below are just a small selection out of thousands ofvolunteer hours spent since 2005, in efforts to develop good faith processes, using the skills and knowledge of disAbility rights advocates working as and alongside City staff and Mayor Curtatone,with the goal of systematically mitigating citywide pedestrian public safety issues:A. On how residents with disabilities perceive streetscape conditions to be thenumber one barrier to their comfort and inclusion:Disability Access report. Submitted November, 2007 to Mayor Curtatone, ADACoordinator Campbell, and all Department Heads. See pages 17, 35, 36, andespecially 43-49: http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/eilily/somerville-ma-access-report-fy07B. On how CDBG funding can be used, along with local and other funding, forcity-wide streetscape and transportation infrastructure improvementsplus Transition Planning:1. CDBG Recommendations PY06. submitted November 15, 2005. see pages 10,12:http://www.slideshare.net/eilily/cdbg-recommendations-fy06-still-relevant-2009-presentation2. CDBG Recommendations PY07/08. submitted January 1, 2007. see pages 11,12: http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/eilily/cdbg-home-recommendations-py0708-city-of-somerville-ma-200720082009eileen-feldman3. CDBG Five-year Recommendations PY08-13 "Create A City of Opportunity ForAll" submitted November 2007. see pages 4, 5:http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/eilily/cdbg-recommendations-somerville-ma-from-disabilities-rights-advocateC. On how Somerville residents with disabilities can be engaged, using availablelocal funding, to provide a Community Needs Assessment to City Staff:submitted May, 2006. Disability Commission Budget Request.http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/eilily/somerville-disabilities-comm-budget-request-march06-for-web