Accessibility in the News for 04-19 – Knowledge is Power

National News (U.S.) 1.    ‘No plan B’: Texas runner heads to Boston for his final marathon- April 11, 2024 Source: Texas Standard […]

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National News (U.S.)

1.    ‘No plan B’: Texas runner heads to Boston for his final marathon- April 11, 2024 Source: Texas Standard

a.    One bib at a time, Stride for Stride aims to make road races more diverse and accessible- April 12, 2024 Source: Boston.com

b.    How a visually impaired marathoner will compete in Boston- April 14, 2024 Source: NPR

c.     Boston Marathon paves path for accessibility for para athletes- April 15, 2024 Source: The Huntington News

It was in the spring of 2021 that Bill Corrigan first started to notice that something was off. “I was training to do some trail running,” Corrigan said. “And I kept tripping and falling down.” This sudden clumsiness came as a surprise to the Austin resident, who has been a runner since 2006 and has done more than a dozen marathons – including four world majors – in places like Portland, Chicago and New York. “I never did the Austin full marathon,” Corrigan confessed…

2.    Road Trips: How to Plan an Accessible Getaway- April 12, 2024 Source: The New York Times

Planning an accessible road trip is getting a little easier for people with disabilities. There are more resources created by and for the disability community, and the tourism industry is starting to recognize the value of accessible travel. As a disabled, chronically ill, neurodivergent person, I take road trips every year and have learned some tips and tricks along the way. Most major car companies offer adaptive driving devices for their vehicles at no additional cost…

3.    New law merges state disability and aging commission to better serve aged and disabled groups- April 12, 2024 Source: News Channel 5

A new law aims to help the disabled or aging population get better access to assistance by merging the Tennessee’s Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Commission on Aging and Disability to create a new department for service. It’s called the Tennessee Disability and Aging Act. The law helps to remove some of the hurdles that people who may fit in more than one category have to go over in order to get efficient service from the state…

4.    ADA bathrooms come to Bloomington parks thanks to a mom’s persistence- April 12, 2024 Source: CBS News

Sometimes it only takes one person’s persistence to make a change. That’s the case in Bloomington, where the city’s parks are switching out non-ADA-accessible portable restrooms in favor of ones that are more accessible. The change is the outcome of nearly a year of dedication for one Twin Cities mom. “I think it’s important to remember that as a community member, you are in a position of power, always,” said Dani Indovino Cawley of Bloomington…

5.    Library report charts slow but steady progress towards full accessibility- April 13, 2024 Source: Capital Current

A new report charting the Ottawa Public Library’s progress towards greater accessibility shows the system making some headway on the issue but also facing a long way to go in removing barriers for those living with disabilities.

According to the report recently tabled with the Ottawa Public Library Board, there are currently 1,485 accessibility barriers at the OPL, which is down from 1,811 in 2017. The update was presented to the library board on March 12 by Anna Basile, deputy CEO of the OPL…

6.    Are there blind scuba divers? Here’s the accessible way anyone can explore the ocean- April 14, 2024 Source: USA Today

When Jessica Pita and her dive buddy started their descent into the water off the coast of Mozambique this past March, her companion started humming the infamous tune to “Jaws.” Pita instantly got the message: a shark. Without hearing that tune, she had no other way of knowing a five-meter-long shark was right underneath the two divers. The South Africa-based diver has been legally blind since she was a teenager. At 11, Pita underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor, but the procedure left permanent damage to her optic nerves…

7.    Planning for Accessibility: Proximity is More Important than Mobility- April 14, 2024 Source: Planetizen

We are currently in a paradigm shift from mobility- to accessibility-based planning, changing how we define transportation problems and evaluate potential solutions. Mobility-based planning assumes that the goal is to maximize the speed and distance that people can travel. Accessibility-based planning recognizes that mobility is seldom an end in itself; the ultimate goal of most travel is to access services and activities. Many factors can affect this ability including mobility, transportation system connectivity, proximity, user information, affordability, and mobility substitutes that reduce the need for physical travel…

8.    Parkinson’s arrived in her 20s. Now, she’s thankful for a procedure she was once scared of- April 15, 2024 Source: USA Today

Nicole LaBolle was in her 20s when she developed a tremor in her right hand. She was pregnant with her first child and as her pregnancy progressed, the tremor worsened. Once she gave birth, she couldn’t even use her right arm.

“Nobody thought it was Parkinson’s because of my age,” said LaBolle, adding that by her 28th birthday she had been diagnosed with the disease. LaBolle reflected on her journey as a young person with Parkinson’s Disease in honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month…

9.    Federal Judge Lets Human Rights Case Against Access-A-Ride Proceed- April 15, 2024 Source: THE CITY & New York Daily News

The MTA may be violating New York City Human Rights Law for requiring people with disabilities to book Access-A-Ride trips by 5 p.m. the day before travel, a federal judge has found. While U.S. District Court Judge Jessica Clarke ruled that the paratransit system’s scheduling requirement does not violate the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, she did indicate that its routing operation can lead to excessively long trips because of “illogical and unnecessarily circuitous routes.”…

10. This Is What Truly Inclusive Glam Looks Like- April 17, 2024 Source: HuffPost

Historically, the global beauty industry has never been a titan of diversity and representation — not when it comes to race, skin color, gender, body type or ability. From who we see on beauty campaigns to how products are designed, ableism has been a huge problem. As a disabled teenager, I yearned for my identity to be represented in the mainstream beauty world. Now, as a grown disabled woman, I am still wishing for the same thing. Though the evolution of social media has been instrumental in encouraging inclusivity in the industry by providing platforms for anybody with talent and charisma, I still don’t see enough disabled beauty content creators getting their shine…

11. Colorado DMV Focuses on Accessibility, ‘Omnichannel Experience’- April 17, 2024 Source: Government Technology

a.    How Colorado’s first legislator to use a wheelchair has highlighted accessibility gaps- April 18, 2024 Source: The Coloradoan

b.    These 6 bills aim to improve disability rights in Colorado- April 18, 2024 Source: The Coloradoan

The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is using technology to increase access to its services through several key initiatives. Digitizing services can help make access to government more equitable, ultimately increasing accessibility for all constituents. This has been a focus for the state of Colorado, from its work with Aira for Coloradans who are blind or have low vision to using virtual reality to train staff in accessibility. And in response to a Colorado law that dictates all government agencies must comply with state accessibility standards by July 1, agencies are taking new approaches…

12. Iowa lawmakers pass bill to make state parks more accessible for people with disabilities- April 17, 2024 Source: KCRG

A bill is now headed to Governor Kim Reynolds’ desk that could make Iowa’s state parks more accessible for people with disabilities. If Governor Reynolds signs the bill into law, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will have to research and make recommendations for accessibility for people with disabilities at state parks and public recreation. It also requires the DNR to provide information about opportunities for people with disabilities at state parks in brochures and online…

13. Blind Shorewood voter files lawsuit on lack of accessibility at the polls- April  17, 2024 Source: TMJ4

Don Natzke is passionate about voting. The longtime Shorewood resident is also blind and has experienced barriers at the polls. He tells TMJ4 that’s why he has signed on to a new lawsuit requesting online ballot options for people in Wisconsin with disabilities. “I’m really a persistent voter, I’ve started in the ’70s and have really actively voted ever since,” said Natzke. Natzke lost his vision when he was 12 years old and says certain barriers at the polls can prevent people with disabilities like him from making their voices heard…

14. Many baby boomers own homes that are too big. Can they be enticed to sell them?- April 18, 2024 Source: NPR

Among the many hard truths for those trying to enter America’s brutal housing market, here’s one: Baby boomers continue to own many of the country’s large houses, even after their households have shrunk to one or two people. Baby boomer empty nesters own twice as many of the country’s three-bedroom-or-larger homes, compared with millennials with kids, according to a recent analysis from Redfin. That means those larger homes aren’t hitting the market, one factor limiting the supply for the younger generations who could use those extra bedrooms…

15. Elections Have Gotten More Accessible for Disabled Voters, but Gaps Remain- April 18, 2024 Source: The New York Times

In 2018, Kenia Flores, who is blind, voted by mail in North Carolina because she was attending college out of state. Had she been able to vote in person, she could have used an accessible machine. But voting absentee, her only option was to tell another person her choices and have them fill out her ballot. She had no way to verify what they did. Dessa Cosma, who uses a wheelchair, arrived at her precinct in Michigan that year to find that all the voting booths were standing height…

16. Disability Network Capital Area to increase accessibility features in the Lansing area- April 18, 2024 Source: The State News

Disability Network Capital Area (DNCA) announced its RAMP IT UP campaign, an effort to install ramps for people and families who need them for accessibility reasons. RAMP IT UP is working with the City of Lansing, Habitat for Humanity and Michigan State University to construct and install 50 ramps for various homes in the greater Lansing area. Ramp installation will officially begin on May 15. Ramps are free to those who receive them and are fully funded by the DNCA and installed by volunteers…

17. Justice Department Secures Agreement with City of Virginia Beach to Improve Access for Individuals with Disabilities- April 18, 2024 Source: Department of Justice

a.    Virginia Beach improving handicap access city wide- April 18, 2024 Source: 13NewsNow

 

The Justice Department announced today a settlement agreement with the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia, to ensure that individuals with disabilities, including Veterans, have equal access to city buildings and other civic programs. The agreement is part of the department’s commitment to ensure that civic institutions comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Virginia Beach has a large population of Veterans, active-duty military service members, retirees and their families…

18. It’s Autism Awareness Month; one family’s story about how ‘4 Paws for Ability’ helped them- April 18, 2024 Source: WKEF

April is Autism Awareness Month, and local nonprofit, ‘4 Paws for Ability,’ is one organization that helps children who have autism. The organization places service dogs with kids and veterans with disabilities, autism being one of them. This organization has existed since 1998. It was started by Karen Shirk and was run out of a one-bedroom apartment, according to the organization’s website. Now, there is a whole campus dedicated to raising and training the service dogs…

19. BART to improve elevator, escalator access after lawsuit alleging ADA violations- April 18, 2024 Source: CBS News

Finding an elevator out of order at a BART station can be an inconvenience for many, but for people with disabilities who rely on elevators to reach the platform, an out-of-order elevator or escalator can mean getting to work late, missing appointments, or simply feeling like second-class citizens.  On Thursday, the transit agency settled a class action lawsuit brought by members of the disability community to clean up BART’s elevators and escalators and ensure that the agency is making a genuine effort to keep these conveyances working and in good repair and condition…

Jack Fact  According to a study by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), just 3.8% of housing is livable for people with moderate mobility issues and less than 1% of housing is wheelchair accessible.

Hit The Road Jack — An Essential Guide to Accessible Air Travel & 10 Wheelchair-Accessible National Parks In The US Accessible Garfield Park Conservatory & Creating an accessible travel experience at YVR

International News

1.    Sadovyi: Addressing issue of accessibility is problem for whole of Ukraine – April 12, 2024 Source: Ukrinform- Ukraine

Lviv is actively working to address the issue of accessibility for people with disabilities and the integration of veterans into civilian life. This was stated by Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi at the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities under the President of Ukraine in Chernivtsi, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. The issue of barrier-free accessibility is extremely important in Lviv. If we invited a veteran in a wheelchair to this forum, how would he feel? This is not a matter of this particular building in Chernivtsi…

2.    Campaigners seek EU-wide ban on forced sterilisation of people with disabilities- April 12, 2024 Source: Reuters- Spain

Spanish disability rights activist Cristina Paredero grew up feeling different and was diagnosed with a form of autism aged 18. She says her parents told her she should never have children and pressed her into agreeing to get sterilised. Paredero, who is now 31 and angry with her parents over what happened, helped draft a 2020 law banning forced or coerced sterilisation in Spain and is now fighting to outlaw the practice across the European Union (EU). “All women have the right to decide for themselves,” she told Reuters…

3.    UK’s first blind overseas ambassador: My sight loss helps me connect with people- April 13, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

Victoria Harrison has until the summer to become fluent in Slovene before taking up her post in the capital city, Ljubljana. Learning languages is any foreign diplomat’s remit – but “disability prep”, as she calls it, is unique to her situation. Getting used to a new home and memorising new routes to work and local cafes with her guide dog, Otto, are just some of the tasks Victoria has on her list alongside her day job. “In my first [foreign] posting, I didn’t realise there was an amazing cafe very close to where I lived – because I’d walk past it and didn’t know,” she says…

4.    Know about Jharkhand’s voter accessibility measures for elderly and PwD ahead of elections- April 14, 2024 Source: India TV News

As the country gears up for the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has been on a journey to implement some pathbreaking initiatives aimed at ensuring accessibility and convenience for all voters. Further, in line with the vision, the Jharkhand election official on Sunday announced the implementation of special measures for over 6.82 lakh electors aged above 80 years and those with disabilities in Jharkhand. Elaborating on the details of the measures to be implemented, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Jharkhand, K Ravi Kumar, said that under the motto ‘no voter to be left behind’…

5.    Crisis communication saves lives – but people with disability often aren’t given the message- April 14, 2024 Source: The Conversation- Australia

In a pandemic, bushfire or flood, people need high quality safety and crisis information. Getting emergency messages quickly can help people know how to prepare, what rules to follow, where dangers are, where to gather safely and when help is on the way. This life-saving potential exists for everyone – including people with disability, who may be particularly affected by climate change. So it is important that crisis information is accessible and its meaning is clear for everyone…

6.    How Canon’s ‘World Unseen’ Exhibition Heightens Art through Accessibility- April 15, 2024 Source: LBBOnline- UK

Between April 5th and 7th, London’s Somerset House hosted the ‘World Unseen’ photography exhibition, inviting visitors  – blind, partially sighted and sighted – to experience photography in a new, accessible and immersive way. Created by Canon Europe with creative agency VML UK and in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). Globally, 2.2 billion people have some form of visual impairment, which puts up barriers to appreciating photography…

7.    What’s ‘biophilic design’ and how can it benefit neurodivergent people?- April 15, 2024 Source: The World Economic Forum- Australia

One in seven people worldwide are neurodivergent. They may have a diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental condition such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism – or traits that mean their thinking style differs from neurotypical patterns. Yet in Australia, building accessibility requirements do not adequately address the needs of neurodivergent individuals. Research shows neurodivergent people benefit emotionally and socially from exposure to nature…

8.    Wheelchair user in Bucks says bus should be more accessible- April 15, 2024 Source: Planet Radio- UK

A wheelchair user from Aylesbury is calling on more to be done to improve accessibility on buses across Buckinghamshire. While many bus companies have, over the years, made necessary adjustments to transform buses into disability-friendly spaces, Fiona Prescott, a wheelchair user from Aylesbury, believes more could be done. Whether it is to eradicate buses which don’t comply with the needs of passengers or amend accessibility on existing buses, she told Greatest Hits Radio the system currently isn’t working…

9.    People with disabilities are being locked out of our beaches, say Greens- April 15, 2024 Source: The Greens- Australia

Greens representatives from all three levels of government have today launched a plan to pay for accessibility upgrades on local beaches, as analysis from Accessible Beaches suggests that there is not a single beach in the Northern Rivers that is fully accessible to people with disabilities. The Greens launched the plan at Seven Mile Beach alongside Joel Taylor, World Para Surfing Champ and 2023 Ballina Shire Citizen of the Year. NSW Greens spokesperson for Disability Rights and Inclusion, Abigail Boyd, wants to see $25 million of dedicated funding in the next NSW budget to assist Councils with accessibility upgrades to beaches across the state.

10. Blind People Park in Israel gets renovated for accessibility inclusion- April 16, 2024 Source: Jewish News Syndicate- Israel

Israelis celebrated the reopening ceremony of the Blind People Park on April 14 after several years in which it suffered from poor maintenance. The trail is part of the Ben Shemen Forest, which covers some 200,000 acres in the Gush Dan and is visited by thousands of travelers annually. It was paved at the beginning of the current millennium by Keren Keyemeth LeIsrael. In 1998, Israel passed a law ensuring equal rights for people with disabilities that led to making recreation areas and forest public sites accessible…

11. Accessibility impacting disabled students’ learning, representatives say- April 16, 2024 Source: RNZ- New Zealand

Accessibility issues with some facilities at universities and polytechnics is taking a toll on disabled students’ ability to study, the National Disabled Students’ Association says. Some have even been humiliated by having to be carried into lecture halls, the association, which is calling for better accessibility legislation, says. The Tertiary Education Commission estimates about 20 percent of tertiary students had some form of disability. University of Waikato student Nikki van Dijk uses a wheelchair and said getting to her classes was a huge battle…

12. Higher education was easily accessible to disabled people during Covid. Why are we being shut out now?- April 17, 2024 Source: The Guardian- UK

My route to university was never going to be simple. While my friends were flicking through university brochures and choosing Ucas options, I was signing chemotherapy consent forms in the teenage cancer unit at Addenbrooke’s hospital and throwing up in its weirdly tropical island-themed bathrooms. Even before then, my severe chronic illness made attending traditional university unthinkable – until the pandemic happened. In 2020, for the first time, it became possible to attend a brick-and-mortar university online. Universities became accessible – or at least, more accessible than they had ever been – practically overnight…

13. Accessibility At The Heart Of ANZ Funding At BATS- April 17, 2024 Source: Scoop News- New Zealand

Live art is for everyone, and thanks to ANZ, access to live art at BATS is going even further. Those who are d/Deaf, blind or have low vision, or who can’t physically make it into the theatre, can now enjoy even more live art via live streaming, captioning and audio description thanks to funding from ANZ Staff Foundation. With this generous support BATS will work with up to ten productions between May and July this year. BATS wants to do better to support disabled artists and their community, not only increasing accessibility to creative work but by championing work made by and for d/Deaf and disabled communities…

14. Upholding Rights of Consumers With Disabilities- April 17, 2024 Source: Drishti IAS- India

Every year, March 15 marks the observance of World Consumer Rights Day, aimed at raising awareness about the rights and responsibilities of consumers globally. However, amidst the celebrations and discussions surrounding consumer rights, there is often a group of consumers who remain overlooked: those with disabilities. Despite their significant presence within the consumer demographic, consumers with disabilities frequently find themselves marginalized in both the discourse and the practical implementation of consumer rights initiatives…

15. Advocating for Inclusion and Accessibility- April 17, 2024 Source: Haaretz- Israel

Access Israel is a leading organization promoting inclusion and accessibility for people with disability, for all disabilities and in all areas of life, including war and emergency situations. Accessibility Accelerator is Access Israel’s affiliate, broadening the global reach and efforts of the organization. Access Israel’s award-winning and life-saving initiative Purple Vest Mission is a leading initiative focused on assisting and rescuing people with disabilities and the elderly in times of war and emergency…

16. Disability advocates call for better venue accessibility as Pavely app co-creator hopes for expanded rollout- April 18, 2024 Source: ABC- Australia

For many people living with disability, impromptu nights out are not an option, because extensive research is required to determine whether a venue or activity is accessible. Shane Hryhorec said he enjoyed being an active member of the community but found the lack of accessibility at venues a constant challenge. “I get tired of going to restaurants [to find] the accessible rest room has been turned into a storeroom,” he said. “People have anxiety about going to venues because they’re worried they’re going to get there and be met with a staircase or attitudes that don’t understand people with disability.”…

17. ORR calls on rail operators to improve complaints processes and accessibility- April 18, 2024 Source: Rail-UK

A report published today (18 April) by the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) has found that some disabled passengers have experienced accessibility difficulties with the rail complaints process. There is also a lack of awareness of how to seek redress for booked assistance failures. A cross-section of disabled people took part in research commissioned by ORR and surveys which collated evidence about their experiences of complaints handling by train operators…

18. European elections: a call for accessibility- April 18, 2024 Source: Social Europe- Lithuania

A political cycle ends in the European Union; a new one starts in less than two months. And with it, new opportunities to tackle daily obstacles for European citizens will come. On the occasion of these European Parliament elections, it is essential to remind political institutions and parties across the EU of the barriers blind and partially sighted people still face in the context of electoral processes, and how these could be removed. Take Lithuania, my country…

19. Will the new EU disability card guarantee freedom of movement for everyone?- April 18, 2024 Source: Euronews- EU

Around one in four people over the age of 16 were living with some form of disability in the European Union in 2022. Yet disability rights campaigners say their right to travel between EU member states is limited due to a lack of accessibility and recognition. “Our disability disappears when crossing the border,” explains Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum in an interview for Euronews. “When we are moving to another country for a business trip or tourism, for any reason, our disability is not recognised in any way in the other member state.”…

20. City of Regina introduces new accessibility master plan- April 18, 2024 Source: Regina Leader Post- Canada

A final draft of the long-awaited accessibility framework for the City of Regina was presented to executive committee on Wednesday, outlining a 10-year roadmap of initiatives for a more inclusive and accessible city for all residents. The Regina Accessibility Plan details 60 long- and short-term actions the city can take to improve public services, facilities and infrastructure to better accommodate seniors and those who identify as a person with a disability…

21. Erasmus+ students develop tools for inclusion and accessibility without borders- April 18, 2024 Source: Porto- Portugal

A delegation of around 70 people, including students, teachers and representatives of local institutions from five countries, including Portugal, came to Porto to share and learn about practices to promote inclusion and accessibility in schools and educational communities as part of the Erasmus+ project. The delegation was received at the City Hall on Monday by the Councillor for Education and Social Cohesion, Fernando Paulo, who presented Porto as ‘an inclusive city, open to Europe and the world’…

22. Advocates say making First Nations accessible will cost more than AFN estimates- April 18, 2024 Source: CBC- Canada

Cathy Rice knows first-hand about how inaccessible First Nations infrastructure can be. “I live in a wheelchair. There’s a certain perspective I have,” said Rice, who is from Kahnawà:ke, south of Montreal, and is a board member of Connecting Horizons, a support group for individuals with disabilities, their families, and caregivers. “Places where [they say] ‘Yes, we’re accessible,’ and they’re not … or you can get in, but I can’t use the washroom. Or it’s got a wide door but I can’t pull it open.”…

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