For Immediate Release
October 19, 2010
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino gathered with members of Boston’s disability community to celebrate his appointment of Kristen McCosh as the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. Boston Police Department employee David Estrada and John Winske were also named to the nine-member volunteer commission. The announcement comes at an important time for the disability community as the City of Boston has embarked on several projects to improve access throughout the city.
“This is great news for the City of Boston and I’m excited to work with Kristen on how to better provide access for our disabled citizens not only within the physical landscape of our city but also within the workings of City Hall,” said Mayor Menino. “Kristen’s strong background as a member of the disability community and long-time advocate gives us a unique perspective on how to best provide for our disabled residents.”
Over the past two years the City of Boston has aggressively worked to make significant improvements to make its infrastructure more accessible and address various concerns of the disability community including:
- A program to make curb cuts compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – by the end of the 2010 construction season, over 1,900 ramps will have been repaired;
- Changes to city contracts and approvals to ensure ADA compliance on the construction of streets and sidewalks;
- The training of all city inspectors on rules and regulations for maintaining access to those with disabilities during any construction;
- The establishment of the nine-member volunteer Disability Commission to advise the City of Boston on policies concerning the disabled;
- The relocation of 20 election polls and the renovation of another six to ensure ADA compliancy;
- The Disability Commission’s “Accessible Path to City Hall” to reconstruct the ramp to city hall;
- And most recently, a program between advocates and the Boston Police Department to retrain taxi drivers on how they deal with disabled passengers comprising a sting operation to check compliance.
Ms. McCosh of South Boston comes to the City of Boston after serving as a Disability Services Early Intervention Consultant for the National Spinal Cord Injury Association for the last three years. In that role, she provided support, education and training to disabled individuals and also assisted in research and advocacy for state and local disability services. Before that she worked for the South Boston Neighborhood House as the Program Director of Volunteer Services for seven years.
After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts – Boston with a degree in English and Political Science in 1995, Ms. McCosh is currently working toward a master’s degree in Disability Studies from the City University of New York.
Mr. Estrada of West Roxbury was a Boston Police cadet when he suffered a spinal cord injury during a motorcycle accident. He has since worked in the Boston Police Department’s media relations office and as a volunteer at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Boston Medical Center assisting spinal cord injury patients. He also has a degree from Northeastern University’s School of Law.
In 2002, working with a partner, Mr. Winske founded DRS Consulting to help organizations make their products and services accessible to people with disabilities including Dell Computers and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Prior to DRS, for three years Mr. Winske worked as a project coordinator for the MBTA and was responsible for directing its program to monitor driver compliance with the ADA.
Video of Appointment: