Thursday, December 17, 2015

They Try To Ignore Her But She Won’t Wheel Away

This photo annotated by advocate Debra Buell explains the problems with the crosswalk where Cornelia and Broad streets split off.  Click image to enlarge.

© 2015 Luke T. Bush

Self-described  Warrior for Justice Debra Buell is using her legal sword to cut through the red tape.  After 25 years impatience is understandable.

The advocate is pressing Plattsburgh City and other entities in The System to comply with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).  Enacted in 1990 the act’s goal was to eliminate barriers encountered by members of the handicapped community.

Example: Most people can walk up stairs without any problems but others such as those using walkers don’t have the same convenience.  A ramp would solve the problem but not when it remains unbuilt.

Debra prefers awareness, compliance, and enforcement by The System without the need for confrontation.  But after years of expressing her concerns through official channels very little has been done.

That’s why she is forced to take legal action as a self-described hell on wheels.

She has spent innumerable hours researching the ADA and related laws.  Debra is unpaid, working mostly on her own.  The North Country Center for Independence (NCCI) has helped her with her advocacy, sharing her concerns.

The System seems adamant about continuing as usual, i.e., not doing a frakking thing.  And now in one instance able-bodied citizens might also be getting screwed.

The situation involves a missing curb cut and a five lane crosswalk.  In the area of 306 Cornelia Street there’s a Y intersection, Broad Street splitting off from Cornelia. 

A few years ago changes were made at the intersection to accommodate a new Walgreens store that opened where the WIRY Radio station once stood.  When the area was under reconstruction, Debra says, the city should have added a curb cut (sloped sidewalk section) on the north side of the street across from the Walgreens entrance 

No curb cut results in a safety concern.  The crosswalk signal only allows 21 seconds to cross, not a problem for someone who isn’t pushing a baby stroller or using a walker.  Until the cut is installed, Debra says, the duration of the crosswalk signal should be lengthened to one minute.

According to Debra the city came up with an alternate solution: eliminate the crosswalk.  If it’s not there the problem is solved.  No more safety concern.  Ergo no liability for the city.

Of course speeding vehicles will have complete domain.  Let cars rule.  Don’t hold up the traffic.  Too bad, pedestrians and disabled people.  Find another way to cross.  Boohoo.  (Remember: elected officials work for you.)

This is only one issue.  Debra has filed grievances with the appropriate governmental agencies about other ADA compliance problems.  Typical results: delays, short say-nothing replies, or no response.

Such tactics only motivate her all the more.

Debra won’t go away.  She keeps rolling.

Watch your toes, apparatchik.

1 comment:

Tal Hartsfeld said...

All those-in-charge ever seem to want to do is "pull rank" and force the rules on others.
But they never seem to want to be burdened or bothered with solving anything.