A celebration of disabled New Yorkers’ fight for access is pretty inaccessible.
The city’s first ever Disability Pride Parade on Sunday is located in a part of Manhattan that’s lacking in elevator-equipped subway stations.
“I would say (it’s) discriminating, in a way. We’re celebrating access,” said Dustin Jones, a wheelchair-bound disability rights activist who will participate in the parade. “Yet, you still have to go out of your way to get to the parade.”
More than 3,500 people in the disability community have signed up to take over Broadway, according to organizers.
The nearest accessible stations to the route — Broadway between Madison Square Park and Union Square — are at 34th Street-Herald Square or at the end of the parade at 14th St.
To make the trek easier, the MTA is setting up special pickup and dropoff spots for Access-A-Ride.
The City Hall area — with the fully accessible Fulton Center and City Hall stations — would have given more travel options to parade attendees, Jones said.
Disability Pride NYC executive director Michael Schweinsburg said the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Victor Calise suggested the route. “We embraced it immediately,” Schweinsburg said. “Nobody has brought up any objection to the proximity of elevator subway stations to the event itself.”
But the accessibility situation will not stay that way for long.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is on its way to 100 accessible subway stations by 2020, with 15 stops left to go, according to agency spokesman Kevin Ortiz.
Edith Prentiss, a transit and disability advocate who uses a power chair, stressed patience with the slow pace of accessible travel in the city.
“You don’t have an access station at Madison Square Park,” she said. “They don’t have accessible stations in a lot of places in the city.”
Disability Pride Charade is more fitting moniker for this event.
Source: Daily News