Disability Access Report Somerville MA 2007

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Members of the Somerville DisAbilities Rights Commission conducted an Access and Barriers Community Satisfaction Survey in 2007. This Final Report for the Disabilities Access Report & Evaluation (D.A.R.E.) Project, 2007 has been edited and posted for community access advocacy ad disabilities rights purposes only. This Project was funded, in part, by a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Entitlement Community Public Service Agency (PSA) grant for program year 06/07 (PY06/07). Posted 2/08 Somerville, MA USA.
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Disability Access Report Somerville MA 2007

  1. 1. DISABILITY ACCESS REPORT & EVALUATION, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM YEAR 2006/2007 FINAL REPORT SUBMITTED IN FULFILLMENT OF CDBG PUBLIC SERVICE AGENCY GRANT PY06/07 BY THE SOMERVILLE COMMISSION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES Somerville, MA USA November 2007 1 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  2. 2. Somerville Commission for Persons with DisAbilities ak.a. DisAbilities Rights Commission of Somerville P. O. Box 434 Somerville, MA 02143 November 15, 2007 The Commission for Persons with disAbilities is charged with advising and assisting the city to ensure compliance with all Federal, State and local disability-equity laws and regulations; and, with joining individuals, businesses and other local groups in partnership to ensure that equal opportunity practices are integrated throughout Somerville. In January, 2006, we submitted a Disability Access Report and Evaluation Project grant application to the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development in order to begin an evaluation of community needs through reports by members, workers, and visitors to Somerville during the winter of 2007. We were pleased to receive $2,000 in Public Service Agency funds from the 2006 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). We are grateful for these funds, which allowed us to begin a process of outreach to residents, and hear about community needs as pertains to disability, access and inclusion issues. Today we submit this report in fulfillment of our grant contract for Program Year06/07. City staff members, local public service agency directors and staff members, local constituents, and other stakeholders were generous and supportive in helping us in this endeavor. As we were developing this report, it became clear that we could enable the city and its constituents by providing certain types of information that may help to de-mystify the culture of disabilities. We hope that this report will be a tool for increased dialogue, understanding, friendship, and respect between all members of the community. We welcome your input, your questions and your partnership. 2 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  3. 3. Commission Members and Associate Members 2006/07: Kellyann Binari John Ciampa, Past-President Eileen Feldman, Chair Craig Fletcher,Vice-President Ellen Frith Thomas Gilbert Julie Katz Joseph Medeiros Martin Polignone Al Rubio William Vienneau 3 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  4. 4. THANK YOU! to City Staff, Community Agencies and Personnel, in no certain order: Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD) Kathleen Houghton, City of Somerville Recreation Department Renee Morin & ShortStop, Mark Allen-Follansbee, Lisa Davidson, Francine, Claudia, & Somerville Homeless Coalition Melissa McWhinney, Tobey Wiggins, Dennis Fischman, & Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS) Daniele Levine, RESPOND Paul Mackey, Beth Monroe-Howe, Wendy Meisner Betty Medeiros, Jackie FitzPatrick, Frank Fitzgerald John deLima, Sandy French, Tom White, & Somerville Housing Authority (SHA) Katherine Powers & The Somerville Journal Wendy Blom, Prince Charles, Dacia Kornechuk, Bill Barrell & SCAT Jose Fino, Mystic Activity Center Jackie Rossetti, Rusty Lewis, City of Somerville IT Department Debby Higgins, Special Education Parents Advisory Council The Disabilities Awareness Group of Somerville Terry, CASPAR Phoenix Program Larry Keene, CASPAR shelter, Gail Enman, CASPAR, Michelle Fuentes, Warren Goldstein-Gelb, Welcome Project Jim, Meghan, Marilyn, Karen, Somerville Libraries Meghan Gougen, Maureen Ward, JustAStart, Reed Cochran, SCM Todd Kaplan, Ellen Shachter, Greater Boston Legal Services 4 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  5. 5. DisAbilities Access Review & Evaluation 2006/2007 Final Report TABLE OF CONTENTS PART I: PROJECT OVERVIEW pp. 6 - 11 PART IV: FUTURE PLANNING pp. 26,27 Project description Building Capacity Commission Contact info for documents Strategies DARE 2006's specific objectives Mutual Goals Between OSPD and Commission PART V: RESOURCES pp. 28-34 Summary- Commission’s use of funds Communication Tips- Icons, Etiquette Selected websites/organizations. PART II: PROCESS pp. 12-15 Selected Bibliography Survey Development Outreach, Media & Community APPENDIX ONE, 521 CMR p. 35 Challenges Selected Exterior Regs. PART III: COMMUNITY APPENDIX TWO, 521 CMR p. 36 NEEDS EVALUATION pp.16-25 Selected Interior Regs. Survey Question 1 Survey Question 2 APPENDIX THREE, MAPS pp. 37,38 Survey Question 3 Age plus DisAbility, Somerville, 2000 Survey Question 4 Survey Question 5 APPENDIX FOUR, Types pp. 39,40 Survey Question 6, Age plus DisAbilities in Somerville, 2000 Survey Question 7 Survey Questions 8, 9, 10 COMMISSION INFORMATION pp.41,42 Demographics SURVEY COMMENTS transcribed pp. 43-49 5 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  6. 6. PART I: Project Overview Project description: After attending the citizen participation meeting regarding Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in November, 2005, the Disabilities Commission wrote a Recommendations Report to the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD). Our purpose was to engage a dialogue about how these HUD- funded programs could support and increase the abilities of the Commission to serve people with disabilities, to assist the City in understanding how important and enabling barrier removal activities are, and to guide the city in developing economic and housing opportunities and resources for people with disabilities. We submitted this on December 15, 2005. One of our Recommendations was the following: Project proposal: Collect needs assessments and data via four Public Conversation Events Opportunity: Outreach to persons living with disabilities is a primary goal of the Commission. Yet, we lack specific information at this time that will help us work with relevant City Departments and other entities in order to ensure an adequate response to our constituents. Through various data-collection methods, and via Public Conversations focused on listening to the needs and suggestions of these participants, the Commission can help the City’s Community Planning Department increase the representation of this constituency in future strategic planning meetings and community solution-making. For Year 2006: Organize data collection methods, Plan and Produce Four Public Conversations. We ask for a reasonable budget to support printing, supplies, consultation and transportation costs as appropriate in order to print questionnaires, create and monitor privacy policy and proper filing procedures, organize and sponsor Public Conversation meetings in various venues throughout the City, and collect data in conformity with municipal and Federal guidelines. 6 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  7. 7. PART I: Project Overview Project description, cont. Long-range planning: • Ongoing documentation will aid the City in devising a realistic Disaster Evacuation Plan. • Both the Police and Fire Departments can incorporate this data into Emergency Evacuation and ADA-compliance planning efforts. • This data can be used to help the Communication Department's 3-1-1 call number service be more useful and responsive to citizens with special communication needs. • This information will assist the City to complete a Self-Evaluation Report and develop a comprehensive Long Range Action Plan for ADA-compliance. The City responded to the Recommendations document by encouraging the Commission to submit an application for a Public Service Agency (PSA) grant to cover costs for a community needs assessment. PSA funds are 15% of the overall CDBG package awarded to the city by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The city has the authority and administrative oversight to award PSA funds to municipal and public community service agencies that service low and moderate income residents. HUD's mission is to “increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. To fulfill this mission, HUD will embrace high standards of ethics, management and accountability and forge new partnerships--particularly with faith-based and community organizations--that leverage resources and improve HUD's ability to be effective on the community level.”1 1 (from the HUD website: http://www.hud.gov/library/bookshelf12/hudmission.cfm) 7 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  8. 8. PART I: Project Overview Project description, cont. The Commission submitted that application by the deadline for proposals, which was January 9, 2006. We named it “Disabilities Access Report and Evaluation (D.A.R.E.) Project.”2 In late spring, we received word that we had been funded for $2,000 project costs and could choose a three month period between summer, 2006 and April, 2007 to complete the Project. The Commission decided that the months of January through March, 2007 would be the best time to circulate a Survey, do Key Interviews, and collect the surveys. Our main chosen goal was to promote fullest accessibility and participation in city life. The Final Report would be written together after tabulating the results. 2 Goals and Objectives from that document are found at: www.geocities.com/sbrina40/ - click on link called, “Commission Works” 8 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  9. 9. Part I: Project Overview, cont. How to Contact the Commission for Alternate Formats: This Report and other Commission-generated documents are available in alternative formats. Please contact us and specify the format you are most comfortable with at: Commission for Persons with disAbilities P.O. Box 434 Somerville, MA 02143 or email us at: somdisAbilitiescomm “at” verizon “dot” net The Recommendations FY06/07 Document can also be found online at: http://www.somervillema.gov/CoS_Content/documents/CommissionRecomFY06.pdf 9 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  10. 10. PART I: Project Overview, cont. DARE 2006's specific objectives were to: • identify emerging issues and concerns of the community in the areas of structural barriers, programmatic access, and emergency planning; • increase visibility of disabilities community as voters and community participants; • assess the level of knowledge of constituents regarding service agencies and resources in Somerville; • determine 5 prioritized conditions preventing disabled citizens from participating in civic life; • provide constituents with the opportunity/resource to register with the 9-1-1 database; and • to generate a report for the Mayor's Office and the City regarding customer satisfaction among the disabled citizens of Somerville. Mutual Goals Between OSPD and SCPD: The identification of the top priority needs of this population, which is approximately 20% of Somerville's citizenry and predominantly corresponds with very-low and low income residents, should increase the capacity for City planners to strategically plan projects to be carried out with leveraged CDBG funds. This survey can begin to identify service gaps requiring immediate accessibility modifications. In specific, we have stepped up to the plate to provide the Planning Department with a beginning Non-Housing Community Development Needs Assessment with regard to the low-income disability culture. In its Consolidated Plan regulations at 24 CFR 91, HUD quot;require[s] that grantees [of Community Development Block Grants] consider the needs of persons with disabilities when preparing their consolidated plans. In order for grantees to be as responsive as possible to the needs of persons with disabilities, each jurisdiction MUST first identity its population of persons with disabilities.quot; Thus, we expect that our work will enhance OSPCD’s compliance with these regulations. 10 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  11. 11. PART I: Project Overview, cont. Summary Commission’s Use of PSA Funds: We requested $7,298 from the CDBG PSA funding, and another $5,700 from the city in administrative support and materials (total, $12,998). We received $2,000, approximately 15.4% of our proposed budget. We were able to complete the following actions: o distribute 1,500 surveys and 80 posters throughout Somerville, including 26 packets in city, agency and housing sites, o gather data about the level of satisfaction from approximately 1% of City residents (77 of the 103 respondents claimed residency) regarding municipal services and infrastructure, public service agencies and health resources in Somerville; o determine at least 5 significant obstacles that prevent respondents with disabilities from enjoying excellent or very good satisfaction with quality of services; and o generate this report for the Mayor's Office and the City regarding satisfaction rate and detailed comments from a sample of 103, which included 88 respondents from the local disAbilities culture (individuals and family members). 11 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  12. 12. PART II: Process Survey Development The Commission agreed that we would provide the City with information regarding Non-Housing Community needs. Our longtime members reviewed the main issues that have been ongoing issues for the disabilities constituency since the Commission began informally in the 1980’s. We presented the following seven conditions for respondents to rate: 1. municipal program participation 2. streetscape and bus stop safety, access 3. city employee attitudes to disabilities issues 4. ease in reasonable accommodations requests to city 5. public school and public library access 6. municipal public safety and public health access 7. mental health, homelessness, low income advocacy resources In addition, we wished to learn more about the constituency’s knowledge of the city ADA Coordinator’s name and function, interest in the Disabilities Commission, and interest in receiving our final report of the survey. We created a one page, two-sided, landscape mode survey using 14 point Optima font. For the first 7 questions, we offered choices based on a 4 point scale of satisfaction responses, ranging from excellent to poor. The last three questions elicited yes or no responses. 12 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  13. 13. PART II: Process Survey Development, cont. Finally, we included the demographic information required by all PSA grantees, in order to fulfill the city’s federal requirements for reportage. At the end, we included three identifiers to elicit information regarding the respondent’s familiarity with disability culture. Outreach First steps: December/January/February • Preliminary contact with 29 public service agencies. • purchased a Post Office box in Union Square, Somerville. • purchase of supplies: to create sturdy drop-off boxes, and to create durable packets of surveys, etc. for placement in the 21 sites3. We also needed basic administrative supplies. • printed 1,500 survey plus 80 11x 17 posters alerting the community as to the survey’s whereabouts. Media Outreach: January/February/March • The Somerville Journal, a community paper, posted information about survey plus the pick up/drop off locations in their Community Notes sections. They also began regularly posting our upcoming meetings information. • We became “organization members” of our local cable access station: the Somerville Cable Access TV (SCAT), who began broadcasting regular bulletin board announcements regarding the survey in February, 2006. We began taping our monthly meetings there in February, 2007. Those meetings are open to the public and advertised on the city’s website calendar. • The City’s IT staff placed the survey in .pdf format on the Disabilities Commission web page. • CAAS and SHA gave much support 3 We were limited in the number of sites based upon the practical considerations of the time and physical abilities of our members to place the materials throughout Somerville. We later heard that at least one SHA site asked why we had not placed the surveys at that site. We sincerely regret that we were unable to physically accomplish more community-wide survey placement in 2007, and will prioritize sites not visited this year for the 2008 work. 13 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  14. 14. PART II: Process Outreach, cont. Community Outreach January/February/March These sites responded affirmatively and helped us enormously by placing the survey packets in accessible community locations, and contacting us when the packets needed refreshing or pick-up. As well, several staff members kindly sent the competed surveys back to our mailbox, which saved us time and energy!: ! Homeless Coalition, 4 programs., ! ShortStop, ! CAAS, ! SHA’s Welcome Project and Mystic Activity Center, ! Cambridge/Somerville Legal Services, ! all 3 Somerville Libraries, ! Just-A-Start, ! CASPAR- 3 programs, ! SCAT, ! seven SHA sites, and the ! City’s Recreation Department. We also placed survey packets with drop-off boxes at City Hall and City Hall Annex. Thus, we ended up placing surveys in 26 locations throughout the City. 14 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  15. 15. PART II: Process Outreach, cont. Challenges • Lack of funding for translators results in lack of outreach to Limited English Cultures. • Current Commission members do not possess statistical skills and we were unable to fund student stipends. • We do not have a Revolving Fund4 to administer our funds, and a member had to loan the moneys for the first 3 months. Because of the length of time it took to arrange a more practical vendor procedure, our contract was modified so that this Final Report became due on November 15 instead of April 15, 2007. • Due to many ongoing community needs, few Members were able to work on this Project from start to finish. • Two Key Interviews were completed; more were not possible. Those important policy and procedures discussions are beyond the scope of this year’s work and will be carried into next year’s Report, along with other Key Interview reports. 4 Specifically, in M.G.L. Chapter 44: Section 53E1/2. Revolving funds (http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/44-53e.5.htm) it is stated: quot;Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, whenever, during the course of any fiscal year, any new revenue source becomes available for the establishment of a revolving fund under this section, such a fund may be established in accordance with this section upon certification by the city auditor, town accountant, or other officer having similar duties, that the revenue source was not used in computing the most recent tax levy.quot; 15 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  16. 16. PART III: Community Needs Evaluation KEY: Yellow highlight with red text indicate conditions evaluated as PRIORITY COMMUNITY NEEDS. Green highlighted with gold text indicates great news. Question 1 1. What is your experience regarding programs, services and activities operated by the City? (Are they readily accessible for you and your family? ) excellent very good good poor N/A no answer 1 8% 19% 48% 16% 2% 6% This question elicited a very general response regarding municipal services. It also provided respondents with the option to report their understanding of how family members are affected by general accessibility of municipal services. It received the highest number of “very good” and also “good” responses, demonstrating a basic satisfactory rate for the majority of respondents. The Council on Aging received 2 compliments. Three comments noted INACCESSIBLE PUBLIC FACILITIES: DPW BUILDING (1 comment) and WEST LIBRARY (2 comments). PLEASE SEE APPENDIX TWO, which gives the State Architectural Access Board Regulations, along with illustrations, for: Interior Public Buildings: Ramps, Entrances, Doors and Doorways, Stairs, Elevators, Floor surfaces, Public Toilet Rooms, and Drinking Fountains. Access to all programs and buildings is a fundamental civil right for all people, and the Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that those civil rights are upheld by providing an administrative mandate in the (mandated) ADA Coordinator’s position: the Self-Evaluation, which allows the entity to survey and “pinpoint the facilities, programs and services that must be modified or relocated to ensure that local governments are complying with the ADA.” (SEE: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/comprob.pdf, or call the ADA Info. line to request the free pamphlet entitled, “The ADA and City Governments: Common Problems.”) 16 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  17. 17. PART III: Community Needs Evaluation, cont. Question 2 2. What is your experience moving around the City? (Are the streets, crosswalks, curb cuts, traffic patterns, signs, and walkways accessible for you? Are bus stops, bus shelters, T stops and stations, and their entryways, restrooms, elevators, counters, etc. in good condition and accessible for you? Are parking lots and parking spots accessible to you?) excellent very good good poor N/A no answer 2 7% 11% 37% 43% 1% 2% This question elicited the highest rating of “poor” and also stimulated the highest number of detailed (26) comments. Pedestrian Safety and Access issues are clearly priority community needs. 1. Sidewalks need to be as level and smooth as possible. 2. Snow and ice removal needs to be consistent with public safety standards, and must, in addition, include removal of snow and ice from curb cuts and ramps. 3. Crosswalks should lead clearly to curb cuts and should be clearly marked. 4. Curb cuts and ramps are nonexistent or incorrectly designed in places. 5. HP parking spaces may need to be increased. PLEASE SEE APPENDIX ONE, which gives the State Architectural Access Board regulations, along with illustrations, for standardized Exterior Access regarding: o Accessible routes, o Curb Cuts, o Walkways, and o Parking/Passenger Loading Zones. 17 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  18. 18. PART III: Community Needs Evaluation, cont. Question 3, TALLY: 3. What is your experience with City employees when making reports and requests regarding access problems? (Do City employees, including 3-1-1, show sensitivity, knowledge, skill in responding to your reports/requests?) excellent very good good poor N/A no answer 6% 15% 35% 28% 16% 5% This question was designed to gain an idea of the perception of attitudes towards people with disabilities when making requests or lodging a complaint. A 28% “poor” response seems to indicate that staff training would be a helpful asset to both the city staff community and the resident community. (Staff were rated at least “good” by the majority of respondents.)Training around general disabilities-relevant information, such as what constitutes a disability; how the interaction between the person and the environment -or the relationships between people- can either be enabling or disabling. It would be helpful to give a general overview, as well, to help demystify the human issues of awkwardness around unique encounters. In addition, an overview of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (prohibiting discrimination in all Federally-funded activities), and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (prohibiting discrimination in all public programs regardless of funding) may be helpful to allow staff more familiarity with the ways in which discrimination is defined pertinent to disabilities. Guidelines and technical resources are continually developed and updated by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other agencies to bridge cultural gaps in knowledge pertaining to: o Employment o State and Local government programs, policies, services, and activities, and including Standards for Open Parks, Recreation Facilities, and other municipal services. o Communications including Web accessibility, Adaptive formats, Assistive technology and TTY and TDD availability; o Telecommunications, including solutions for interoperable phone conversations with members of the Deaf community, necessity for adaptive and accessible informational formats, etc In Part V of this report, we offer some guidelines on etiquette and other best practices for all persons to gain familiarity with best practices when interacting with people who use adaptations to interact with the environment. 18 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  19. 19. PART III: Community Needs Evaluation, cont. Question 4, Tally 4. What is your experience requesting special accommodations for you or a family member to participate in: City programs, activities, events, celebrations, recreational activities, City park events, etc.? (Have you successfully requested: Large print, Braille, audio tape, TTY, Sign Language Interpreters, other assistive technology? Have you successfully requested: ramp access, elevators or lifts, accessible restrooms, lowered water fountains, lowered counters, paved grounds, secured carpets, more aisle/hallway space, other adaptive modifications?) excellent very good good poor N/A no answer 4 7% 5% 30% 16% 27% 16% This question was designed to elicit information regarding ease of requesting reasonable accommodations in various types of milieus, including: o regular municipal programs, o temporary indoor and outdoor events, o social and recreational opportunities, o publicly available information o departmental-specific information about new resources and projects. This question also presented another opportunity to note structural barriers (buildings and interior environment), and evaluate respondents ease of lodging complaints and requesting access accommodations. Notable tally results are the high rate of “poor” responses, and also the highest rate of “N/A” responses in the survey. This may be because the question was too wordy, and included concepts that are not generally discussed! Lack of ease in communicating such requests, and lack of follow-up, are priority needs. The excellent work of Nancy Aylward, Administrative Assistant to Mayor, is noted several times. 19 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  20. 20. PART III: Community Needs Evaluation, cont. Question 5 Tally: 5. What is your experience with... Somerville Schools & Libraries? (Always Accessible? Full of Barriers?) excellent very good good poor N/A no answer 5 10% 14% 42% 15% 15% 6% This question notably triggered three more complaints about the accessibility of West Somerville Branch Library in Davis Square for mobility-impaired individuals. This beautiful Community Center and Library at 40 College Ave. was built in 1909. It is listed in the Local Historic District (3/11/85), registered as an Individual Property in the National Register (9/18/89), and has a Preservation Restriction (9/30/98). The Library is offering excellent community programs and services that are distinct from the other two public libraries in Somerville, and therefore this rich resource must be offered in an equal and accessible manner to all people (per building code and ADA Title II-5.5000)*. Creative ways to achieve this are being researched, including videoconferencing, moving some programs to another location, and policy and procedural accommodations. Please contact the Commission with your ideas. * If the building has been, or will be, renovated or altered, relevant requirements are found in AAB (3.9) and ADAAG (4.1.7) that cover historic buildings. -Thanks to N. Goldberg, MA Office on Disability http://www.mass.gov/mod/ 20 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  21. 21. PART III: Community Needs Evaluation, cont. Question 6, Tally 6. ...Hospitals, Public Safety Departments (Fire, Police), & Public Health Department? (Accessible? Barriers?) excellent very good good poor N/A no answer 6 22% 17% 30% 14% 11% 7% This question notably received the highest “excellent” response. However, it also received 14% “poor” response, and in matters of Public Safety and Health, vital matters could be jeopardized. National, State, and and local resources exist to help such Departments regularly update and train personnel about Best Practices regarding health and safety issues relevant to the disAbilities community, such as best ways to communicate with members of the Deaf Community; most appropriate methods to evacuate people in wheelchairs; most appropriate evacuation procedures in general. As well, specific training is may be necessary to familiarize all personnel with the range of diversity in the broader community; and also to have specific personnel available as translators, including sign language interpreters; and specific alternate format procedures. One thoughtful comment regarded the need to use mediation rather than other practices, in order to de-escalate certain types of situations. Regarding that, here’s a commonly asked question: Q: What if someone is demonstrating threateneing behavior because of his or her disability? A: Police officers, may respond appropriately to real threats to health or safety, even if an individual’s actions are a result of her or his disability. But it is important that police officers are trained to distinguish behaviors that pose a real risk from behaviors that do not, and to recognize when an individual such as one who is having a seizure or exhibiting signs of psychotic crises, needs medical attention. It is also important that behaviors resulting from a disability, illness or medication issues not be criminalized where no crime has been committed. Avoid these scenarios. For more resources on the ADA and Law Enforcement, and Information packets on Emergency Procedures and other health information, please see: www.ada.gov or call the ADA Information Line: 800 - 514 - 21 0301 (voice) 800 - 514 - 0383 (TTY) © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  22. 22. PART III: Community Needs Evaluation, cont. Question 7, Tally: 7. ...Mental Health Resources? Homelessness Shelters & Resources? Low-Income & Advocacy Resources? excellent very good good poor N/A no answer 7 6% 10% 27% 22% 23% 12% This question elicited a notable number of “N/A” responses, as well as a high rating of “poor.” The First Time Homebuyers Class was cited as being inaccessible (see ytanscribed comments, end of report). Even in the best of Departments and institutions, accessibility issues are often not brought to the surface unless the culture of diversity is enhanced in other ways (which means, it’s good news, in some ways!). The Very Best Practice would be to have all Public facilities be entirely in conformance with the ADA Architectural Design Guidelines and the Building Codes; this is still rarely the case nationwide. However, efforts to achieve this can be ongoing, consistent, and good faith efforts while, at the same time, a checklist is made available for all staff to alert their teammates of access, barrier , policy, and communications issues that must be solved before any temporary event or ongoing program is implemented. Checklists for Temporary Events are available in the ADA Publications (see www.ada.gov, or call the ADA Information Line (see page 17). It is also helpful to talk with colleagues in the disAbilities community and ask for guidance. If a Department regularly holds short-term and temporary events, or is otherwise not yet up to date on accessible technology resources, etc., hiring a part or full time knowledgeable ADA Consultant from within the disAbilities community would be a Best Practice. If an entity has more than 50 employees (or 15, if entity is a recipient of HUD funds, as defined in 24CFR 22 8.3), an ADA/Section 504 Coordinator is federally mandated. © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  23. 23. PART III: Community Needs Evaluation, cont. Questions 8 - 10 were designed to gather information about how connected subjects were to the City disAbilities services and to the Commission services: 8. Does subject know who ADA Coordinator is?5 yes no no answer 19/103 76/103 8/103 18.44% 73.78% 7.766% 9. Does subject want more info. about Commission? yes no no answer 36/103 55/103 12/103 34.95% 53.39% 11.65% 10. Does subject want a copy of the Final Report? yes no no answer 34/103 51/103 18/103 33% 50% 17% The Final Report will be sent to all collaborators, including other constituents that did not fill out the Survey FY06/07 per request. It will be published on the web for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy. THIS IS THAT VERSION, edited with follow-up contact information for various agencies. Information about how to receive our Report will be included in posters and other information disseminated by the Commission during 2008/09 in Somerville, MA. For more information, please write or email us. 5 Responses for this survey were collected between February 8 and May 8, 2007. A new City ADA Coordinator was designated during April, 2007. 23 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  24. 24. PART III: Community Needs Evaluation DEMOGRAPHICS Out of 103 subjects, 77% were residents = approximately 1% of total known population. 9% work in Somerville. 8% did not fill out any demographics 63% White 9% no racial information given 8% Black 5% American Indian 2% each: Hispanic, Asian, Asian/White, Black/African American, Black/African American/White 1% Multiracial RESPONDENT CHARACTERISTICS: SEX: M 30% (31) F 62% (64) AGE WAS NOT ASKED. INCOME: 31% (32) have income less than $10,000. 48.5% (50) have incomes less than $30,000. 3.9% (4) have incomes less than $46,000. 24 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  25. 25. PART III: Community Needs Evaluation DEMOGRAPHICS, cont. DISABILITY: 62% have a disability. 21% have a family member with a disability. 7% don’t know anyone with a disability. 2% have a friend with a disability. 2% have a disability plus have a family member with a disability. HOMELESS: 5% homeless. F Head of Household: 19% female head of household 25 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  26. 26. FUTURE PLANNING Building Capacity, Commission’s Strengths and Challenges Our mission to enable individuals with disabilities to achieve their full potential requires a great deal of proactive, solutions-oriented dialogues with colleagues. In addition, we need to be leaders in meeting problems head-on by researching and investigating solutions, and continuing to guide our local government about the actions, practices and resources that are available and help sustain a community’s best potentials. All of our members have been involved in one or more subcommittees, in addition to regular Commission work; and the raised level of understanding about disAbilities-relevant issues is inspiring. Each member has specialized knowledge in one or more aspects of disability culture, and every member has been an advocate for well over a decade. Three current members are extraordinary resources, having “seen it all.” We continue to invite other community members to work with us in appropriate ways, such as fulfilling Commission requirements to attending meetings, and following through on projects that have been started. We are particularly looking for a Teen Member as well as a Parent of a child with a disability, to enrich our membership, outreach, and community resourcefulness. In addition, we do not currently have a Ward 4 Member or Associate on the Commission and would like to have each Ward in the City represented. Our ordinance requires that we have at least one Elected Official as a member. We have invited our Elected Officials. In order to build the capacity of the Somerville Commission for Persons with disAbilities, we need to be affiliated with City services, including administrative, programmatic and procedural conditions in the same ways that are available to most or all of the other municipal Boards, Commissions, and Authorities. For example, it seems correct for us to also have a phone number, an email contact, and a City “snail-mail” address, as well as a paid Executive Director or a City staff administrator, who can care for logistical and City-located needs. Our budget for this Outreach and Assessment project is completed in November, and we have been level- funded ($2,000) for another year of assessment activities. We will be able to do outreach similar in quantity to this year in 2008. We hope that next year’s responses will be increased as a result of the community-wide dissemination of this report. 26 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  27. 27. FUTURE PLANNING Commission Strategies quot; Continually offer information quot; Continually offer necessary guidance to protect and uphold civil rights quot; Continually offer resources about where to seek more information, if available/appropriate quot; Encourage research and investigation to solve access and barrier problems quot; Seek creative and innovative solutions, apply individualized solutions quot; Seek creative collaborations, communicate broadly: from locally to globally quot; Encourage communication and ongoing dialogue quot; Train others to be self-advocates, as possible quot; Seek guidance, trainings from more experienced Advocates quot; Gain knowledge and experience re: Policy Development quot; Seek ways to help constituents bridge the “Digital Divide” quot; Build information/communication technology resources for Commission and community 27 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  28. 28. RESOURCES Communication Tips HERE ARE SOME COMMON ICONS USED TO DESCRIBE ALTERNATE FORMATS: access other than Braille: assistive listening systems audio description BRAILLE SYMBOL Closed Captioning Open Captioning 28 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  29. 29. RESOURCES Communication Tips, cont. WHAT BRAILLE LOOKS LIKE Braille is a tactile code that is ordinarily raised dots on a smooth surface. Soon, the Federal Government will be putting out Braille money. Below is the alphabet code. There is also code for numbers, and formats, etc… Can you learn it?! 29 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  30. 30. SOME RESOURCES Communication Tips, cont. HOW TO SPEAK WITH A PERSON THAT USES A TTY: In Massachusetts, just dial “7-1-1” to be connected with a relay operator from the Massachusetts Relay System. The operator acts as a go-between for callers who use the TTY text telephone. People type what they want to say on the TTY, and th eoperator reads the words to a person who hears on the other end. MA Relay is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. FOR MORE INFORMATION: TTY and ASCII Users 800-720-3480 Voice/Hearing Users 800-720-3479 or write to the Call Center Manager: Joanne Spence, MassRelay, 439 Whitney Ave., Holyoke, MA 01040 TOOL TO ENSURE ACCESSIBLE WEBSITES There are several relatively low cost accessibility testing tools available on the web. This one below is well known throughout DisAbility Culture: Watchfire® Bobby™ 5.0 found at: http://www.watchfire.com/default.aspx Watchfire® Bobby™ 5.0 is a web accessibility desktop testing tool designed to help expose barriers to accessibility and encourage compliance with existing accessibility guidelines, including Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act and the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Bobby can see local web pages, as well as web pages behind your firewall. It performs over 90 accessibility checks. During a scan, Bobby checks HTML against select accessibility guidelines and then reports on the accessibility of each web page. Clue: It’s a best Practice to be “Bobby-approved.” COST: Bobby 5.0 costs approximately $300 30 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  31. 31. SOME RESOURCES Communication Tips, cont. TERMINOLOGY TIPS, FROM: Disability Etiquette , published by United Spinal Association (see Bibliography) PUT THE PERSON FIRST. Say “person with a disability” rather than “disabled person.” Say “people with disabilities” rather than “the disabled.” For specific disabilities, saying “person with Tourette syndrome” or “person who has cerebral palsy” is usually a safe bet. Still, individuals do have their own preferences. If you are not sure what words to use, ask. Avoid outdated terms like “handicapped” or “crippled.” Be aware that many people with disabilities dislike jargony, euphemistic terms like “physically challenged” and “differently abled.” Say “wheelchair user,” rather than “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair bound.” The wheelchair is what enables the person to get around and participate in society; it’s liberating, not confining. With any disability, avoid negative, disempowering words, like “victim” or “sufferer.” Say “person with AIDS” instead of “AIDS victim” or “person who suffers from AIDS.” --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To order copies of this and other United Spinal Association Publications, call toll-free hotline at 800-444-0120. For bulk orders, call the hotline between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Send e-mail orders to publications AT unitedspinal DOT org. 31 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  32. 32. SOME RESOURCES Selected Websites, organizations: UN ENABLE- Promoting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities http://www.un.org/disabilities/ NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITIES (NCD is an independent Federal agency) 1331 F Street, Suite 850 Washington, D.C. 20004 202-272-2004 Voice 202-272-2074 TTY 202-272-2022 FAX http://www.ncd.gov UNITED SPINAL ASSOCIATION 75-20 Astoria Boulevard Jackson Heights, NY 11370-1177 718-803-3782 (V/TTY) 718-803-0414 (F) E-mail: info AT unitedspinal DOT org www.unitedspinal.org EASTER SEALS http://www.easterseals.com Easter Seals provides exceptional services to ensure that people living with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play. Easter Seals Massachusetts Technology and Training Center 89 South Street Boston, MA 02111 Phone: 617 226-2640 Web Site: www.ma.easterseals.com 32 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  33. 33. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ACCESS, EMPOWERMENT & GOVERNANCE CREATING A WORLD OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES WITH ICT GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE PARTNERSHIP www.globalknowledge.org Charlton, J.I. (1998). Nothing about us without us: Disability oppression and empowerment. Berkeley: University of California Press Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities http://tinyurl.com/2ftjox This enlightening document was adopted on December 13 2006 at the UN Headquarters in New York. Over eighty-two countries world-wide have signed on to it, and many U.S. Cities have adopted resolutions to support it nationwide. Creating Livable Communities, Report by National Council on Disability (167 pgs) http://www.hcbs.org/files/101/5021/livable_communities.pdf or ncd.org Design for Inclusion: Creating a New Marketplace (Online Version) http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2004/online_newmarketplace.htm Disability Etiquette: Tips on Interacting with People with disAbilities by Judy Cohen of Access Resources. Illustrations by Yvetter Silver. Publication of United Spinal Association. http://www.unitedspinal.org/pdf/DisabilityEtiquette.pdf Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities: Barriers At Every Step (127 pages) Prepared for: Office of Policy Development and Research U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development http://www.hcbs.org/files/76/3754/DDS_Barriers.pdf 33 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  34. 34. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY, cont. The Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Assessing the Progress Toward Achieving the Goals of the ADA National Council on Disability July 26, 2007 http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2007/pdf/ada_impact_07-26-07.pdf www.ncd.org HUD Strategic Plan FY06 - 11 http://www.hud.gov/offices/cfo/reports/hud_strat_plan_2006-2011.pdf quot;There are those who say we can stop now, America is a color-blind society. But it isn't there yet. There are those who say we have a level playing field, but we don't yet. There are those who say that all you need is to climb up on your bootstraps, but there are too many Americans who don't have boots, much less bootstraps.quot; Colin Powell, May 25, 1996 from http://www.fairchance.org/ Americans for a Fair Chance 34 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  35. 35. APPENDIX ONE ARCHITECTURAL ACCESS BOARD REGULATIONS 521 CMR # ACCESSIBLE ROUTE, 7 PAGES # CURBCUTS, 5 PAGES copies of this appendix will only be forwarded in hard copy versions, for on-screen access to these regulations, PLEASE SEE: http://tinyurl.com/2fcqu7 35 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  36. 36. APPENDIX TWO ARCHITECTURAL ACCESS BOARD REGULATIONS 521 CMR SELECTED INTERIOR REGULATIONS # RAMPS # ENTRANCES # DOORS AND DOORWAYS # ELEVATORS # STAIRS # PUBLIC TOILET ROOMS copies of this appendix will only be forwarded in hard copy versions, for on-screen access to these regulations, PLEASE SEE http://tinyurl.com/2fcqu7 36 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  37. 37. APPENDIX THREE CENSUS 2000 DATA MAPS, PERCENT OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES BY AGE PERCENT OF PERSONS 21 - 64 WITH A DISABILITY PERCENT OF PERSONS 5 - 21 WITH A DISABILITY Somerville city, Massachusetts by Block Group , ages 5 - 64 37 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  38. 38. APPENDIX THREE , cont. CENSUS 2000 DATA MAPS, PERCENT OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES BY AGE PERCENT OF PERSONS 65 and OLDER WITH A DISABILITY Somerville city, Massachusetts by Block Group, Age 65 and older 38 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  39. 39. APPENDIX FOUR, adapted from Census 2000 TABLE PCT26: SEX BY AGE BY TYPES OF DISABILITY, 5 yrs. and over. SOMERVILLE, MA 2000 Total:73,746, Male: 35,744 5 to 15 years: 3,222 With one type of disability:178 Sensory disability, 6 Physical disability, 0 Mental disability, 155 Self-care disability,17 With two or more types of disability:39 Includes self-care disability26 Does not include self-care disability, 13 No disability, 3,005 16 to 20 years:2,358 With one type of disability:214 Sensory disability, 18 Physical disability,16 Mental disability, 23 Self-care disability,0 Go-outside-home disability, 86 Employment disability, 71 With two or more types of disability:169 Includes self-care disability, 14 Does not include self-care disability:155 Go-outside home and employment only, 133 Other combination, 22 No disability, 1,975 21 to 64 years:, 27,163 With one type of disability:, 2,836 Sensory disability, 179 Physical disability, 309 Mental disability, 230 Self-care disability, 21 Go-outside-home disability, 210 Employment disability, 1,887 With two or more types of disability:, 2,329 Includes self-care disability, 278 Does not include self-care disability:, 2,051 Go-outside home and employment only, 1,330 Other combination, 721 No disability, 21,998 65 years and over:, 3,001 With one type of disability:, 615 Sensory disability, 114 Physical disability, 277 Mental disability, 52 Self-care disability, 0 Go-outside-home disability, 172 With two or more types of disability:, 625 Includes self-care disability, 248 Does not include self-care disability:, 377 No disability, 1,761 39 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  40. 40. APPENDIX FOUR, cont. adapted from Census 2000 TABLE PCT26: SEX BY AGE BY TYPES OF DISABILITY, 5 yrs. and over. SOMERVILLE, MA 2000 Total:73,746, Female:, 38,002 5 to 15 years:, 3,357 With one type of disability:, 72 Sensory disability, 9 Physical disability, 0 Mental disability, 57 Self-care disability, 6 With two or more types of disability:, 31 Includes self-care disability, 9 Does not include self-care disability, 22 No disability, 3,254 16 to 20 years:, 2,561 With one type of disability:, 144 Sensory disability, 0 Physical disability, 0 Mental disability, 33 Self-care disability, 0 Go-outside-home disability, 18 Employment disability, 93 With two or more types of disability:, 150 Includes self-care disability, 44 Does not include self-care disability:, 106 Go-outside home and employment only, 92 Other combination, 14 No disability, 2,267 21 to 64 years:, 27,248 With one type of disability:, 2,374 Sensory disability, 99 Physical disability, 361 Mental disability, 182 Self-care disability, 16 Go-outside-home disability, 253 Employment disability, 1,463 With two or more types of disability:, 2,192 Includes self-care disability, 382 Does not include self-care disability:, 1,810 Go-outside home and employment only, 883 Other combination, 927 No disability, 22,682 65 years and over:, 4,836 With one type of disability:, 1,073 Sensory disability, 184 Physical disability, 499 Mental disability, 42 Self-care disability, 16 Go-outside-home disability, 332 With two or more types of disability:, 1,276 Includes self-care disability, 592 Does not include self-care disability:, 684 No disability 2,487 40 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  41. 41. SOMERVILLE COMMISSION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES a.k.a. Somerville DisAbilities Rights Commission P.O. Box 434 Somerville, MA 02143 www.geocities.com/sbrina/40 somdisAbilitiescomm “at’’verizon “dot” net MISSION The mission of the Somerville Commission for Persons With Disabilities (SCPD) is twofold: 1. To ensure that all persons living, working and visiting the City of Somerville have complete access to all programs and services within the City; and 2. To ensure that persons with disabilities within the City can participate in, and benefit from, any and all decisions regarding policies, practices and procedures that affect persons living, working and visiting the City of Somerville. OBJECTIVES Working with the City Government, we will work towards full ADA-Compliance: • to advocate for the civil rights of persons with disabilities; • to improve living conditions for persons with disabilities; • to provide constituents with disabilities the opportunities to give input and request changes throughout all aspects of municipal life • to remove physical, policy, economic, programmatic, and communication barriers to civic life; • to develop technical assistance materials to help City Departments and Somerville businesses better serve the needs of persons with disabilities; • to educate the City and public in various formats regarding issues of importance to persons with disabilities. 41 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  42. 42. SOMERVILLE COMMISSION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES www.geocities.com/sbrina40/ somdisAbilitiescomm AT Verizon DOT net MEETING SCHEDULE We meet on the second Saturday of each month at the Somerville Cable Access TV station (SCAT), 90 Union Square, right near the Union Square Post Office. Meetings are open to the Public. Our meetings are taped for broadcast on Channel 3 later in the month. We try to transcribe the meetings for print and exact documentation as well; this year we have not accomplished that more than once yet. You can request a tape (audio file on CD) of the meetings by contacting us at the above mail or email addresses. Please check the website often if you would like up-to-date information about the meeting schedule, as it is subject to change. Our weekly TV show is the DISABILITIES RIGHTS REVIEW on Channel 3 SCAT TV, from 5 - 6 p.m. We are building capacity to host more diverse programming, including interviews, educational and informational shows, and shows celebrating the diversity of Somerville. Please contact us if you are interested in helping us/becoming involved with us for our developing ongoing TV and video projects. MEMBER NOTES: CONNECT online and share resources: Kellyann Binari, has a website , called THE POSSIBILITIES CONNECTION at: http://possibilitiesconnection.bravehost.com/index.html CONTACT JOE & AL TO BE INTERVIEWED ON THEIR LIVE SHOW:Joe Medeiros and Al Rubio have the longest running HOT SHOW” (live show) on SCAT TV Channel 3! The show is called, GRAND UNION, and is hosted live on Channel 3 Somerville Cable Access TV station. email: somdisAbilitiescomm AT verizon dot net 42 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  43. 43. COMMENTS RECEIVED (note, they are transcribed exactly as they were written to the best of our ability) COMMENTS RECEIVED, Question #1 What is your experience regarding programs, services and activities operated by the City? ( Are they readily accessible for you and your family? ) 1. No regular buses from senior buildings to mall. 2. Except Powderhouse Park- surface bad. 3. Cindy Hickey does a very good job. 4. The Council on Aging does a very good job. 5. Curbcuts and crosswalks circled: Wheel chair travel is hard due to rough pavement poor curbcuts. 6. ??? Could Be??? Don’t know of any- (not informed) 7. Not very good. 8. Encouragement and assistance to public road transport with minibuses reaching to each and every narrow/broad street, thus lower the cost of transportation & fuel & energy to gov’t. & freedom from debt of mortalace[?], pollution parking problem etc. 9. Very good: Public Library not perfect but makes effort; everything else is poor. 10. in the public works building you have to go up and down stairs. Big Problem. 11. Voting place didn’t set up a private, wheelchair-level voting place until I was there wondering where to go. West Branch of library not wheelchair accessible. Would they allow someone else to use my library card to pick up books? 12. Unsure- have not attended. 13. good: Except West Somerville Library. 43 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  44. 44. COMMENTS RECEIVED, Question #2 2. What is your experience moving around the City? (Are the streets, crosswalks, curb cuts, traffic patterns, signs, and walkways accessible for you? Are bus stops, bus shelters, T stops and stations, and their entryways, restrooms, elevators, counters, etc. in good condition and accessible for you? Are parking lots and parking spots accessible to you?) 1. More bus shelters for the elderly, more buses with handicap ramps on them. 2. Need painting and bus stops need better enclosures. 3. T-stops should all have shelters- White lines or crossing areas should be repainted as needed. Some are worn off completely! 4. Under the “poor” response: “(very)” 5. I do not take the T because the elevators and escalators are so unreliable. There are not really enough handicapped parking spaces. And the streets are terrible. Fix them before my engine falls out. 6. Cross walks for the handicap do not match upon the other side of the streets. Thank you. 7. I have trouble walking. 8. Lower Broadway- Handicap parking on one side of the street only. Should be at least one handicap parking on opposite side of street. 9. There are no ramps going to McGrath Highway across from Mount Vernon street. There is a lot of traffic coming around that corner and I am a power wheelchair user. I almost got hit many times. 10. Intersection ramps are plowed over when it snows. 11. Loose bricks and uneven sidewalks make walking difficult in all parts of the city. 12. Sidewalks n the city are in poor condition. There should be crosswalk signs that are for the visually impaired. 13. All buses stand required proof of vagary of weather for commuters 14. MBTA buses could have more buses that lower the steps to get on 44 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  45. 45. 15. Not enough publicly-accessible restrooms, especially evenings and weekends. Restrooms in subways either do not exist or are frequently or always locked (e.g. Porter Square). I have a disability that requires frequent restroom use and it is hard to enjoy the city when there are not public restrooms and so many businesses turn me away. 16. I fell once on an obstruction on a sidewalk and got an elbow fracture. 17. Poor: MBTA. Escalators frequently broken, elevators smell of pee. Bus stops particularly bad. 18. Many sidewalks are very uneven making it difficult to walk w/a cane or crutches nearly impossible for wheelchair. 19. Cobblestones in Davis Square are pretty, but a very bumpy ride in my mobility scooter. Sidewalk cracks and mands [?] from tree roots are a problem. On trash day, cars and recycling bins force me into the street. Some neighbors let their hedges grow out, narrowing the sidewalk. 20. It is nearly impossible to safely cross streets at crosswalks. Cars do not stop or slow down. 21. Street signs are erratic and small. Curb cuts erratic, few audio crosswalk signals. Crosswalks signals do not always coincide with safe crossing (eg. Walnut Street and Broadway- gives walk signal while vehicles continue to rush by). 22. Due to illegal parking at corner of Medford and Highland constantly blocking crosswalk and handicap access. 23. Bus stops should be cleaned. 24. Bus stops need to be cleared when it snows. 25. Teach all (mostly cab drivers) the meaning of the WHITE cane (Blind). Can’t reach City Affairs with a walker. No Special Transportation. 26. In snow/ice, the crosswalks and bus stops leave much to be desired. Plows make no effort, and often drop snow in them. Unacceptable. 45 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  46. 46. COMMENTS RECEIVED, Question #3 What is your experience with City employees when making reports and requests regarding access problems? (Do City employees, including 3-1-1, show sensitivity, knowledge, skill in responding to your reports/requests?) 1. *We have to care for others!* -ALL- 2. We have often asked that there be a No Parking sign posted at the rear entrance to Properzi Manor. It is difficult for an ambulance or other vans to turn out the driveway. Mr. Taylor has been told about this from time to time- nothing has been done. 3. did not know who to call about that (crosswalks). 4. All handicap exit ramps from sidewalks are plowed in. they could care less. Byant Manor- Senior Housing-no handicap parking in garage. 5. I have asked for ramps on the corner of each street but didn’t get response. (power wheelchair user) 6. Under poor response: “SSI” 7. The person was nice but the problem was not resolved. 8. It is difficult to convert material man to spiritualism or to convert complex life to simple life. 9. I believe Pat Jehlen tried to sponsor a law to force stores, restaurants, etc. to allow people to use their restrooms- Please keep trying (underlined 3 lines), and add some public restrooms, esp. in the big square- Davis, Union, etc.,- that are open at festivals and every nights and weekends. Thanks. 10. poor- generally rude and unsympathetic- try calling the SPD sometime! 11. Sometimes 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 are needed with the EMT’s for MEDIATION purposes. 12. I have reported only one issue to Nancy in Mayor’s office, and received a very good response. My issue was the failure of speakers in Public Meetings in Alderman’s Chambers to turn on their microphones. Since my complaint, the issue is improved. 46 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  47. 47. COMMENTS RECEIVED, Question #4 What is your experience requesting special accommodations for you or a family member to participate in: City programs, activities, events, celebrations, recreational activities, City park events, etc.? (Have you successfully requested: Large print, Braille, audio tape, TTY, Sign Language Interpreters, other assistive technology? Have you successfully requested: ramp access, elevators or lifts, accessible restrooms, lowered water fountains, lowered counters, paved grounds, secured carpets, more aisle/hallway space, other adaptive modifications?) 1. ramp access circled: need safety rails.no hand rails all the way Bryant Manor 2. not informed 3. Sometimes it’s good, other times poor. (did not fill answer in) 4. Was too frustrated to ask at the time. 5. Few clear handicap doors in city buildings. 6. I have requested rest rooms and have been told only one person has key and was not allowed. 7. However, Handicap door on School Street was not open for recent Capuano Town meeting. 47 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  48. 48. COMMENTS RECEIVED , cont COMMENTS RECEIVED, Question #5 What is your experience with... Somerville Schools & Libraries? (Always Accessible? Full of Barriers?) 1. I have to drive to the one by City Hall, because of the steep steps at Davis Square. (West Library) 2. Fair- not always accessible. 3. Schools- good. Libraries very poor, especially West Branch. 4. Full of barriers circled. West Branch not accessible for wheelchairs. Computer access is good. 5. Full of barriers circled. COMMENTS RECEIVED, Question #6 ...Hospitals, Public Safety Departments (Fire, Police), & Public Health Department? (Accessible? Barriers?) 1. Somerville Housing Police is terrible. 2. Fire, police circled: the best. 3. . full of barriers circled: At Somerville Hospital, often handicap parking is full. Then you have to park up a big hill. 4. Town Hall limited Large Print signage. COMMENTS RECEIVED, Question #7 ...Mental Health Resources? Homelessness Shelters & Resources? Low-Income & Advocacy Resources? 1. not enough mental health resources. 2. Again, Council on Aging is excellent. 3. Not informed. 4. Very good: non-profit. Poor: City. 5. The first time homebuyers class in Somerville couldn’t accommodate a friend of mine. 6. We should have more available on wait lists, it is unacceptable. 7. Low income and advocacy resources underlined: Don’t know much about this. 48 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.
  49. 49. COMMENTS RECEIVED , cont OTHER COMMENTS: 1. P.S. Need shelters: for all that need it: Joe: The City is disgraceful: The people need to be aware and alert: more: [sic] 2. re: ADA Coordinator: Post it in the building. 3. I feel the bus passes should be available at either Holland Street or other. Some elderly cannot get to Back Bay Station- 4. under I have a disability response: “By all means” 5. under I have a disability response: “Major stroke” 6. Please keep letters enclosed in your files about me. 7. re ADA Coordinator: Inappropriately the head of personnel.-!!! no wonder nothing gets done. re: Final Report: should be publicly available. 8. ADA coordinator circled: “I am now.” 9. Under I have a disability: “Legally blind-sighted” 49 © 07/08 somdisAbilitiescomm This web .pdf version may be reprinted in whole- but not in part - for purposes of disAbilities Rights advocacy only.

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