For Immediate Release
July 26, 2011
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined the Commission for Persons with Disabilities and members of Boston’s disabled community on City Hall Plaza to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Disabilities Commission, created by Mayor Menino in 1995 as part of the Office of Civil Rights, is dedicated to promoting inclusion for individuals with disabilities in Boston in every facet of life. Today’s event was the first ADA celebration hosted by the City of Boston.
“The City of Boston is diverse in many ways and welcomes people of all abilities,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “Over the past several years, we have taken great steps towards making Boston a friendlier city for all of our residents and visitors. While I recognize how far we still have to go, today provides a great opportunity for families to come and celebrate how far we’ve come over the past 21 years.”
Disabilities Commissioner Kristen McCosh, appointed in October 2010, has been working to make the Commission more collaborative and interactive, within the neighborhoods and in City Hall. An active Disability Advisory Board was established, consisting of nine residents who serve as the eyes and ears of the neighborhoods. The Disabilities Commission also hosted a reception this past spring for residents, advocates and disability agencies to gather input and ideas on how to improve accessibility and inclusion priorities in Boston.
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 allocating $15 million to increase pedestrian access to bring curb cuts into ADA compliance
- 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;
- Increasing access at approximately 100 polling places throughout the City;
- The Disability Commission’s “Accessible Path to City Hall” to reconstruct the ramp to City Hall;
- 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.
- Currently developing an accessible component to the Hubway bike share system to launch in the fall.
For more information on the Commission for Persons with Disabilities, visit www.cityofboston.gov/disability/.