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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Public Hearing on Pedestrian Accessibility Study Set for May 15th



Official Press Release from the City of Somerville...

SOMERVILLE – The community is invited to a public meeting to provide feedback on a report that details how the City conducted its accessibility Self-Evaluation for streets and sidewalks, and the system used to develop the curb ramp schedule and reconstruction priorities for sidewalks.

The public meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 15 at 6 p.m. in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall will gather community feedback on the 2013 Pedestrian Accessibility Study available online at http://www.somervillema.gov/departments/personnel/ADA and by clicking “2013 Pedestrian Accessibility Study” on the right. Residents can also send questions and comments to ADA Coordinator Betsy Allen via e-mail to ballen@somervillema.gov or by phone at (617) 625-6600 extension 2323. If you wish to request reasonable accommodations in order to attend the meeting on May 15, please contact Betsy Allen by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 9.

This pedestrian right-of-way (PROW) report will form part of the basis for the City’s complete Transition Plan that will cover both physical and communication barriers and outline the timeframe for removing those barriers. Community feedback will assist in prioritizing the barriers identified in these reports, and developing a living, multi-year Transition Plan to create equal access for all to the City’s buildings, programs, services, streets and sidewalks.  The City contracted the engineering firm, Fay, Spofford & Thorndike, of Burlington, Mass., to conduct the Pedestrian Accessibility Study.

“I am fully committed to keeping Somerville accessible to everyone and knocking down the barriers that exist in our community. Feedback from the community is essential to prioritizing what we need to do on our streets and sidewalks to make an immediate and meaningful difference in residents’ daily lives,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “I ask our residents to attend this meeting or send their feedback by phone or email and help us make Somerville a city that is truly open to all.”

“The ability to come and go as we please is something that all of us who are not mobility-impaired take for granted every day. Yet for individuals who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids, venturing outside can be challenging, even dangerous. The City will do all that it can, through the systematic upgrade and maintenance of its PROW, to ensure that individuals with mobility impairments can travel safely,” said Allen. “We are once again calling on disability rights advocates and the entire community to own, shape and mold the change that is and will be happening. In keeping with the requirement and the spirit of the ADA, we seek feedback from residents, particularly those with disabilities.”

The Self-Evaluation of the City’s streets and sidewalks, facilities, websites and the Transition Plan currently being developed are the main components of the City’s overall efforts to increase accessibility throughout Somerville, along with the new Streetscape Plan and the active contributions of the Somerville Commission for Persons with Disabilities. The Commission meets the second Tuesday of each month and works closely with the ADA Coordinator to improve the lives of residents with disabilities. New Commission members are welcome.

To learn more about the City’s comprehensive plans to create and maintain equal access for all and to participate in these efforts, please contact ADA Coordinator Betsy Allen at 617-625-6600 ext. 2323 or by email at ballen@somervillema.gov.

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