This July it will be 27 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. Yet, it is at least as common to find businesses and public facilities that are not accessible as it is to find ones that are. If you have disabilities, or are family or friend to a disabled person here in the North Country, you probably know several places you just can't go ... because wheelchair users can't get in, or go to the bathroom ... or because people using crutches or canes hate going there because there are too many stairs ... or because blind people find it's too dark and the print is too small on the menus.
We complain about it, but despite the backing of a nearly 30 year old federal law, it often feels like there's nothing we can do about it!
Here is what we propose:
1. Everyone who is interested, if you have the equipment, visit the AbleRoad website, and / or download the AbleRoad iOS or Android app, create a free account, and start giving 0-5 star accessibility ratings on local places you visit.
2. Keep a simple list of the places you rate, and every now and then send it to NCCI so we can keep a running tally of places rated by our whole team.
3. Tell friends and family what you're doing, how they can do it too, and more importantly, how they can use AbleRoad accessibility ratings to access more of their community.
Here is a bit more explanation from the AbleRoad website, and a video showing how it works:
The AbleRoad website and iOS and Android applications allow people with disabilities and medical conditions - including those who use a wheelchair or have other mobility, vision, hearing or cognitive disabilities - and their families and caregivers to review any public space or business.
Each review helps people with disabilities "to know before you go" the accessibility of a restaurant or business. Accessibility is required by law, but we know that is not always the situation. Don't be caught by surprise. Know in advance whether a place is accessible for people with your disability.
Use the links below to get started:
We will probably also schedule a few in-person events during the summer, to introduce people to the project and app, and make bigger, more coordinated efforts to rate a bunch of businesses at once. Stay tuned through NCCI's Website, Facebook, and Twitter!