Mayor Thomas M. Menino last week joined the Commission for Persons with Disabilities and members of Boston’s disabled community on City Hall Plaza to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Established by Mayor Menino in 1995, the City of Boston’s Disabilities Commission promotes complete inclusion for individuals with disabilities in Boston. Today’s event was the third ADA Day celebration hosted by the City of Boston.
“The City of Boston prides itself on fostering a welcoming, inclusive community for all,” Mayor Menino said. “The impressive work of the Disabilities Commission demonstrates our dedication to opening up opportunities for people of all abilities in our city. There is still more work to be done, but the great steps we have already taken promise a bright future for all of our residents and visitors.”
Disabilities Commissioner Kristen McCosh, along with an active Disability Advisory Board consisting of nine residents who serve as the eyes and ears of the neighborhoods, aims to make Boston a city where people of all abilities can live, learn, work, and visit with every expectation of access, acceptance, and enjoyment. The City strives to broaden the definition of “access” beyond traditional ramps and parking spaces by initiating innovative projects and programs that seamlessly increase accessibility in numerous ways.
The City of Boston continues to make significant improvements to the accessibility of all neighborhood spaces and address various concerns of the disability community. Commission initiatives include:
Inspecting the City’s wheelchair-accessible taxi fleet to bring cabs into compliance and improve taxi service for customers with disabilities
Improving access to the Freedom Trail, including sidewalks, curbcuts, wayfinding and historic buildings
Upgrading accessibility in the City’s Emergency Shelters and creating a Voluntary Functional Needs Registry to help identify people with disabilities in an emergency
Improving access to City Hall by constructing an Access Path and installing an Audio Loop system to ensure those who are hard of hearing are fully included in government business
Providing ten internship opportunities in City Hall to people with disabilities, including several youth through the Mass Rehab Commission. Last summer, several of these interns were hired into full-time positions
Participating in “Disability Mentoring Day” every fall – a national program that connects people with disabilities to employment options. Last year, a group of disabled adults from the Mass Rehab Commission were brought into City Hall for a day long program of training and job-shadowing. Many of them got hired.
Collaborating with the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities on a monthly film series to provide free, accessible events that encourage people with disabilities to become more socially active
Bringing 5,000 curb cuts into compliance with the ADA
Installing more Accessible Pedestrian Signals for people who are blind or have low vision. Allocated funding ensure installations with continue for the next three years.
Constructing a fully-accessible playground adjacent to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
For more information on the Commission for Persons with Disabilities, visit www.cityofboston.gov/disability/.