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Accessibility and Inclusion

For Pittsburgh to be a true City of Tomorrow, we need to include the voices and needs of people with disabilities.

Photo of Heather Tomko
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I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), and have used a power wheelchair for my whole life. I also work, go to school, and go out with friends and family to explore the city, just like everyone else. But many transportation options don't consider the needs of people with disabilities at the outset - our needs are often an afterthought, retroactively and clunkily tacked on to existing solutions. Things that are a minor inconvenience for others - cracked and broken sidewalks, missing curb cuts, buses that don't pull up to their designated stops or block a crosswalk - are major problems for me, and can cause me to have to backtrack and find a new, navigable route. While other city residents can call an Uber or a Lyft, I can't, because these services do not currently offer accessible vehicles. If Pittsburgh wants to be a model for other cities, and a true City of Tomorrow, it is imperative that the voices of people with disabilities are included moving forward.


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Photo of Karen Ruszala-Suchy

I agree with Heather, My daughter has Cerebral Palsy and uses 2 crutches to get around in the city. She cannot get a bus to work,especially in the winter for the fact  she has to walk in the snow and ice for 2 - 3 blocks to just get to bus stop. They need to enforce the clearing of sidewalks IN and OUT of town when it snows. Why can't they have the little shuttle in town for the handicap and elderly to take to the bus stops since they took almost all the handicap parking spots out.   Thanks for listening.

Photo of Aly Stone

Karen, thanks so much for sharing. I hear a lot of people complain about sidewalk cleaning just as an annoyance of inconvenience, but considering mobility for people with physical disabilities, I'm realizing just how important it really is to keep the sidewalks safe. How does your daughter usually end up getting to work in the winter during snow?....which seems to last forever around here!

Photo of Karen Ruszala-Suchy

I usually drive her to work every day since we live a pretty good distance from the nearest bus stop. But with her using 2 crutches I also need to get out of the car and assist her into the door way of the building, for work or any place she goes so she does not fall on the unkept sidewalks. If she would take the T, she would have the same problem,walking through downtown by herself. I have a daughter who has a Master's degree, she tries her best to not let anything hold her back(including her disability),works full-time and a part-time job, but getting around in the city is a major road block a lot of the times. Taking Ubers and Lyfts all the time can be very costly. Access, forget that , they are never on time for someone with a career or younger person on the go. It can be frustrating for her and myself as well, She doesn't drive at all. I know the city is putting in the ramps on all the corners which is awesome,maybe they can also use a different type of paint in the crosswalks, that paint is terrible when wet. you slip or wipe out, not sure if its a oil base or what ,but its horrible walking on it in the rain,or snow. Thanks for listening.

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