Friday, December 19, 2008

I Helped Someone! YAY!! Access-a-Ride [almost] Going to LI

The other night I was at the ALS meeting/holiday party at Beth Israel and I was approached by the mother of a patient who still works as a physician [and the mom goes with her]. Well, they say that they learned from my blog about the accessible taxi dispatch program, and tried it because their wheelchair van is in repair. They were pleased with the service on the first leg. The second leg there wasn't a taxi available in time, so I think they took the bus, because they didn't want to wait too long. But it's nice to know that I helped someone through this blog.

Also, Access-a-Ride is going over the Nassau and Westchester border 3/4 mile to Great Neck, Atlantic Beach, N. Hyde Park, etc....so there are more options! But DNNYC is fighting the fare-doubling promised by the MTA.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saying From a Bunny Parent -- So True!

There comes a point in your life when you realize
who matters,
who never did,
who won't anymore...
and who always will.
So, don't worry about people from your past,
there's a reason why they didn't make it to your future.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Senior Tour With No Accessibility -- Duh?

This is an email I received today from my friend Lora Frish:

This morning, December 10,
I went on a tour of Gracie Mansion with other
elderly people from the Van Cortlandt Senior Center. There was one
person with a walker and several with canes. The tour was on two
floors, but the elevator was unavailable. The people who couldn't
climb the stairs had to wait in chairs on the first floor for the rest
of us to finish the tour. The elevator should be available for tours.

D-u-u-h-h???? A bunch of seniors are coming......Now, should the senior center pre-arranged by inquiring at the time of booking? I don't know the level of expertise and experience of whoever arranged this tour, but someone at Gracie Mansion, upon hearing a bunch of seniors were coming, might have made the elevator available?

Word to the wise for anyone reading this who may be in a position now or in the future, to arrange events for seniors and/or disabled. Check on accessibility.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Is "Gay" the New "Black"?

Can the Proposition 8 struggle in California really be compared to the civil rights struggles in the 1960s. Read this article from an LA Times blog, which asks the question.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Accessible Taxi Dispatch Program Needs Users

Almost two decades ago, disability advocates went to then-Mayor of New York City, Edward Koch, to obtain his support for the proposed program to make New York City's public bus system wheelchair-accessible. To everybody's astonishment, Mayor Koch, who had a legacy of liberalism and progressivism, was not supportive. The reason Mayor Koch objected to the accessible-bus program, which would equip each bus with a motorized wheelchair lift, was not because the mayor was not sympathetic toward people with disabilities [PWDs]. He objected to the costly modifications because he believed PWDs would not use the accessible buses, and the expense would be for naught. Moreover, he was afraid that able-bodied riders would object to the extra time spent to get a PWD boarded, and would resent the new system, and the PWDs.lifts ta Koch feared the resulting backlash of able-bodied riders venting anger toward PWDs would be counter-productive, and cause increased alienation and isolation of PWDs.

Several years later, Ed Koch had to admit that he had been mistaken. The accessible-bus program became a success. Today, every MTA New York City bus is equipped with a motorized ramp. It takes very little extra time to board a wheelchair, and the able-bodied riders rarely exhibit annoyance. As a PWD myself, I am amazed at how efficient this system is. At the beginning, I understand there were growing pains -- broken lifts, or bus drivers who claimed their lifts were broken out of laziness or resistance -- often leaving PWDs in wheelchairs waiting for several buses. But I have had nothing but efficiency and friendly, gracious bus drivers.

Now, there is a new program in place. New York City has an ever-growing fleet of wheelchair-ramp-equipped taxis, pictured at this link PWD advocacy groups are trying to get more fleet owners on board to replace old taxis with newer accessible models. Formerly, it was very difficult to find an accessible taxi to hail from the street. But now there is a dispatch program in place. A PWD can now call 3-1-1 and ask for the accessible taxi dispatch. The call will then be routed to an appropriate dispatcher, who will send out a ramp-equipped taxi. According to a statement from the Disabled Network of New York City [DNNYC] this week "Arguments against adding more taxi and livery services for riders with disabilites have long been based on the low numbers of people using existing services. Based on the figures available, taxi and livery drivers assert that providing taxi service to PWD's cannot be profitable. Ridership of PWD's for the recently launched wheelchair accessible taxi project is below projected levels." So, in order to make this accessible-taxi program viable and profitable, PWDs have to make a concerted effort to use the accessible taxis through the new 3-1-1 dispatch system. Eventually, New York City hopes to be like London, England, a city where every taxi is equipped for wheelchairs.To read more about the Accessible Taxi Dispatch Program, click here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"American Idol" Contestant Will Donate Christmas Song's Proceeds for ALS

Former Idol contestant Michael Johns, will release a new song for the holiday season called "Another Christmas" on iTunes December 9. The proceeds from the song will go toward finding a cure for ALS. Johns' interest in ALS came out of his friendship with "Access Hollywood" host Nancy O'Dell. O'Dell's mom Betty passed away this past June, after losing her battle with ALS.
For the full story, and a chance to listen to a preview of the song, clink on the link on top.