Neighbours dispute leaves Okanagan man without running water for 22 days



A long standing neighbours dispute has left an Okanagan man without running water or proper heat for more than three weeks now. Ian Rallon says his neighbour has shut off his access to a shared water supply that also supplies he house with geothermal heat.
After 23 days, the situation is taking its toll Rallon who is on long-term disability and doesn’t have the means litigate his position in civil court.



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The Ford Government’s Announced Measures for Students with Disabilities Largely Leaves it to Each of 72 School Boards to Figure Out What to Do to Fully and Safely Include Them in School Re-opening


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities
Web: http://www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

August 20, 2020

SUMMARY

Earlier this week, we asked this important question: What is the Ford Government’s plan to ensure that over 340,000 students with disabilities are fully and safely included in Ontario’s schools when they open next month? It is now clear that the Ford Government has no comprehensive plan.

At the start of this week, the August 17, 2020 AODA Alliance Update made public the fact that back on August 4, 2020 we had emailed the Ontario Ministry of Education to ask what measures the Government had announced for students with disabilities in connection with school re-opening, and that we had received no answer. Two days later, on August 19, the Ministry responded.

The list of measures that the Government provided is set out below. These include no comprehensive plan of action to ensure that students with disabilities are fully and safely included in school re-opening. These measures do not ensure that the barriers that faced students with disabilities last spring during distance learning are removed and that no new ones are created. The Government has once again left it to each of Ontario’s 72 school boards to figure out what to do for students with disabilities , floundering as they scramble to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

A month ago, on July 24, 2020, the Government received a strong report identifying key actions the Government needs to take to ensure that the needs of students with disabilities are met during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These came from the COVID-19 subcommittee of the Government-appointed K-12 Education Standards Development Committee. Among other things, that report recommended the following, which the Government has not included in its list of actions for students with disabilities :

“1) The Ministry of Education should establish a Central Education Leadership Command Table with responsibilities for ensuring that students with disabilities have access to all accommodations and supports they require during the present COVID-19 pandemic. The responsibilities of the Command Table shall include:
a) immediately develop a comprehensive plan to meet the urgent learning needs of students with disabilities during COVID-19 pandemic quickly and resolve issues for students with disabilities as they arise. The comprehensive plan should be shared for implementation by school boards. This plan should include and incorporate the three options for education: * normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols
* modified school day routine based on smaller class sizes, cohorting and alternative day or week delivery, and, * at-home learning with ongoing enhanced remote delivery
b) collect and share data on existing and emerging issues as a result of COVID-19, the effective responses of other jurisdictions in supporting students with disabilities during the current emergency, using evidence-based data collection methods for people with disabilities
c) establish a fully accessible centralized hub, and share and publicize the hub, for sharing of effective practices about supporting students with disabilities
d) develop a rapid response team to receive feedback from school boards on recurring issues facing students with disabilities and to help find solutions to share with school boards
e) provide clear communication and guidance on school opening, health service delivery, etc. based on data collected.”

On August 19, 2020, the Ontario New Democratic Party wrote Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce about this subject. We set that letter out below. That letter calls on the Government to take action now to plan for the needs of students with disabilities during school re-opening.

What are parents of students with disabilities to do now, in this situation? Tune in to the Ontario Autism Coalition’s Youtube channel tomorrow, Friday at 11 am for the new virtual Town Hall to be convened by the AODA Alliance and the Ontario Autism Coalition, which will be entitled: “Preparing for School Re-Opening — Action Tips for Parents of Students with Disabilities.” This event will have American Sign Language interpretation and captioning. Check out the AODA Alliance’s announcement of this event for more details. Encourage others to log on to this event.

We always welcome your feedback. Write us at [email protected]

MORE DETAILS

August 19, 2020 Information Provided to the AODA Alliance from the Ontario Ministry of Education

School Re-Opening Initiatives for Students with Disabilities and Students with Special Education Needs

* As announced July 30, based on the best medical advice available, the province is implementing additional public health protocols to keep students and staff safe when they return to school in September. To support the implementation of these protocols, the government is providing over $300 million in targeted, immediate, and evidence-informed investments, including: * $10 million to support special needs students in the classroom; and * $10 million to support student mental health.

This funding is in addition to a $25 million investment in mental health and technology, which will see an additional $10 million dedicated to mental health staff, resources, and programs, as well as $15 million in technology funding to support the procurement of over 35,000 devices for Ontario’s students to support their synchronous learning in-school and beyond.

* As part of the plan the government is providing additional supports to enable a successful return to school. For students with a high-level of special education needs, the government is directing school boards to facilitate full-time in-school instruction, regardless of whether a secondary school begins the instructional year using an adapted model. The Ministry of Education will work with designated school boards to achieve this goal and will review and approve requests by designated school boards to open small or specialized secondary schools or programs with full-time attendance. Additionally, the government is directing boards to consider changing the school environment and remote learning needs in reviewing and updating Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to best-serve students.

* In addition to doubling the mental health funding in the Ministry of Education, the government has also worked with School Mental Health Ontario and will provide school boards with a professional learning framework and toolkit to support the mental health of all students. This can be tailored at the board and school levels for different audiences. The professional learning will have a strong focus on building students’ social-emotional learning skills so that they can respond to what they are facing in the COVID-19 outbreak, manage their stress and build positive relationships. Professional learning will be provided for system leaders, educators and mental health professionals to support the approach to school re-entry, as well as throughout the school year.

The re-opening plan builds the summer learning plan for Ontario students to ensure students have every opportunity to continue their learning through the summer months that included focused programming for students with special education or mental health needs, including dedicated learning supports such as access to educational assistants and existing after-school programs that could be delivered through summer school and summer programming in Provincial and Demonstration Schools to focus on continued learning for our students with specialized learning needs.

* On August 12, the ministry communicated its expectations for three Professional Activity days be implemented prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year that will focus on topics for restarting the school year, to ensure the safety of staff, students and the broader community, and delivery of high-quality education for all learners. The ministry expects that professional learning will consider and incorporate the implications for teaching students with special education needs.

* The government recently issued Policy/Program Memorandum No. 164, Requirements for Remote Learning to provide direction to school boards on remote learning requirements. It includes specific requirements to support students with special education needs:

o Where appropriate, educators should provide more opportunities than the minimum requirements for synchronous learning for students with special education needs, based on their individual strengths and needs, and provide differentiated support and instruction.
o Educators should continue to provide accommodations, modified expectations, and alternative programming to students with special education needs, as detailed in theirIEPs. If it is not possible to meet a student’s needs through synchronous learning, educators and families will work together to find solutions.
o School boards are encouraged to provide continued access to assistive technology, including Special Equipment Amount (SEA) equipment, where possible, to support students with special education needs as they participate in remote learning. In situations where access to assistive technology is not feasible, educators are expected to work with students and parents to determine workable solutions on an individual basis.

August 19, 2020 letter from the Ontario New Democratic Party to the Ford Government

Hon. Stephen Lecce
Ministry of Education
5th Floor
438 University Ave.
Toronto, ON M5G 2K8

August 19, 2020

Dear Minister Lecce,

We are writing to insist that your government adopts a comprehensive COVID-19 plan for students with disabilities, ensuring that they have the tools they need to thrive during this pandemic.

On July 8, you stated in the legislature that you’ve been in touch with disability rights leaders, but there is still no plan to support the learning requirements of 340,000 students with special education needs.

Firstly, we are concerned about the lack of any uniform guidance on the issue of school exclusions. The AODA Alliance has reported that a majority of Ontario’s 72 school boards do not even have a policy guiding the use of exclusions.

This could set the stage for exclusions to be applied by administrators when schools lack the resources to accommodate students with disabilities.

Your Ministry should issue guidelines to school boards on the use of exclusions without delay, so that no student with a disability is unfairly denied the right to learn with their peers.

Another area where some students with disabilities have been denied equal learning opportunities relates to the discrepancies in how online learning has been implemented. Depending on the school board, different platforms with wildly varying levels of accessibility are being used. It is important for the Ministry to be supporting boards to ensure their online learning systems are equitable and accessible to all students.

Finally, your government has committed only $10 million in additional funding for students with special education needs to date. This amounts to a paltry investment of $34 per disabled student. How could anyone believe that is sufficient to meet the challenges before us? Significant investment in hiring additional educational assistants

and reducing class sizes is crucial to ensuring that all students’ learning needs are supported.

Minister, people with disabilities have been among those hit the hardest by this pandemic. This includes education, where many students with special education needs have struggled with the transition to distance learning.

In order to ensure that students with disabilities can thrive in the classroom or remotely, it is crucial that your Ministry develops a plan in consultation with the disability community, and puts real resources behind it.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Joel Harden
Official Opposition Critic for Accessibility & People with Disabilities MPP for Ottawa Centre

Marit Stiles
Official Opposition Critic for Education
MPP for Davenport

Monique Taylor
Official Opposition Critic for Children & Youth Services
MPP for Hamilton Mountain




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The Ford Government’s Announced Measures for Students with Disabilities Largely Leaves it to Each of 72 School Boards to Figure Out What to Do to Fully and Safely Include Them in School Re-opening


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

The Ford Government’s Announced Measures for Students with Disabilities Largely Leaves it to Each of 72 School Boards to Figure Out What to Do to Fully and Safely Include Them in School Re-opening

August 20, 2020

          SUMMARY

Earlier this week, we asked this important question: What is the Ford Government’s plan to ensure that over 340,000 students with disabilities are fully and safely included in Ontario’s schools when they open next month? It is now clear that the Ford Government has no comprehensive plan.

At the start of this week, the August 17, 2020 AODA Alliance Update made public the fact that back on August 4, 2020 we had emailed the Ontario Ministry of Education to ask what measures the Government had announced for students with disabilities in connection with school re-opening, and that we had received no answer. Two days later, on August 19, the Ministry responded.

The list of measures that the Government provided is set out below. These include no comprehensive plan of action to ensure that students with disabilities are fully and safely included in school re-opening. These measures do not ensure that the barriers that faced students with disabilities last spring during distance learning are removed and that no new ones are created. The Government has once again left it to each of Ontario’s 72 school boards to figure out what to do for students with disabilities , floundering as they scramble to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

A month ago, on July 24, 2020, the Government received a strong report identifying key actions the Government needs to take to ensure that the needs of students with disabilities are met during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These came from the COVID-19 subcommittee of the Government-appointed K-12 Education Standards Development Committee. Among other things, that report recommended the following, which the Government has not included in its list of actions for students with disabilities :

”1)  The Ministry of Education should establish a Central Education Leadership Command Table with responsibilities for ensuring that students with disabilities have access to all accommodations and supports they require during the present COVID-19 pandemic. The responsibilities of the Command Table shall include:

  1. a) immediately develop a comprehensive plan to meet the urgent learning needs of students with disabilities during COVID-19 pandemic quickly and resolve issues for students with disabilities as they arise. The comprehensive plan should be shared for implementation by school boards. This plan should include and incorporate the three options for education:
  • normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols
  • modified school day routine based on smaller class sizes, cohorting and alternative day or week delivery, and,
  • at-home learning with ongoing enhanced remote delivery
  1. b) collect and share data on existing and emerging issues as a result of COVID-19, the effective responses of other jurisdictions in supporting students with disabilities during the current emergency, using evidence-based data collection methods for people with disabilities
  2. c) establish a fully accessible centralized hub, and share and publicize the hub, for sharing of effective practices about supporting students with disabilities
  3. d) develop a rapid response team to receive feedback from school boards on recurring issues facing students with disabilities and to help find solutions to share with school boards
  4. e) provide clear communication and guidance on school opening, health service delivery, etc. based on data collected.”

On August 19, 2020, the Ontario New Democratic Party wrote Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce about this subject. We set that letter out below. That letter calls on the Government to take action now to plan for the needs of students with disabilities during school re-opening.

What are parents of students with disabilities to do now, in this situation? Tune in to the Ontario Autism Coalition‘s Youtube channel tomorrow, Friday at 11 am for the new virtual Town Hall to be convened by the AODA Alliance and the Ontario Autism Coalition, which will be entitled: “Preparing for School Re-Opening — Action Tips for Parents of Students with Disabilities.” This event will have American Sign Language interpretation and captioning. Check out the AODA Alliance’s announcement of this event for more details. Encourage others to log on to this event.

We always welcome your feedback. Write us at [email protected]

          MORE DETAILS

August 19, 2020 Information Provided to the AODA Alliance from the Ontario Ministry of Education

School Re-Opening Initiatives for Students with Disabilities and Students with Special Education Needs

  • As announced July 30, based on the best medical advice available, the province is implementing additional public health protocols to keep students and staff safe when they return to school in September. To support the implementation of these protocols, the government is providing over $300 million in targeted, immediate, and evidence-informed investments, including:
  • $10 million to support special needs students in the classroom; and
  • $10 million to support student mental health.

This funding is in addition to a $25 million investment in mental health and technology, which will see an additional $10 million dedicated to mental health staff, resources, and programs, as well as $15 million in technology funding to support the procurement of over 35,000 devices for Ontario’s students to support their synchronous learning in-school and beyond.

  • As part of the plan the government is providing additional supports to enable a successful return to school. For students with a high-level of special education needs, the government is directing school boards to facilitate full-time in-school instruction, regardless of whether a secondary school begins the instructional year using an adapted model. The Ministry of Education will work with designated school boards to achieve this goal and will review and approve requests by designated school boards to open small or specialized secondary schools or programs with full-time attendance. Additionally, the government is directing boards to consider changing the school environment and remote learning needs in reviewing and updating Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to best-serve students.

 

  • In addition to doubling the mental health funding in the Ministry of Education, the government has also worked with School Mental Health Ontario and will provide school boards with a professional learning framework and toolkit to support the mental health of all students. This can be tailored at the board and school levels for different audiences. The professional learning will have a strong focus on building students’ social-emotional learning skills so that they can respond to what they are facing in the COVID-19 outbreak, manage their stress and build positive relationships. Professional learning will be provided for system leaders, educators and mental health professionals to support the approach to school re-entry, as well as throughout the school year.

The re-opening plan builds the summer learning plan for Ontario students to ensure students have every opportunity to continue their learning through the summer months that included focused programming for students with special education or mental health needs, including dedicated learning supports such as access to educational assistants and existing after-school programs that could be delivered through summer school and summer programming in Provincial and Demonstration Schools to focus on continued learning for our students with specialized learning needs.

  • On August 12, the ministry communicated its expectations for three Professional Activity days be implemented prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year that will focus on topics for restarting the school year, to ensure the safety of staff, students and the broader community, and delivery of high-quality education for all learners. The ministry expects that professional learning will consider and incorporate the implications for teaching students with special education needs.
  • Where appropriate, educators should provide more opportunities than the minimum requirements for synchronous learning for students with special education needs, based on their individual strengths and needs, and provide differentiated support and instruction.
  • Educators should continue to provide accommodations, modified expectations, and alternative programming to students with special education needs, as detailed in their IEPs. If it is not possible to meet a student’s needs through synchronous learning, educators and families will work together to find solutions.
  • School boards are encouraged to provide continued access to assistive technology, including Special Equipment Amount (SEA) equipment, where possible, to support students with special education needs as they participate in remote learning. In situations where access to assistive technology is not feasible, educators are expected to work with students and parents to determine workable solutions on an individual basis.

August 19, 2020 letter from the Ontario New Democratic Party to the Ford Government

Hon. Stephen Lecce

Ministry of Education

5th Floor

438 University Ave.

Toronto, ON M5G 2K8

August 19, 2020

Dear Minister Lecce,

We are writing to insist that your government adopts a comprehensive COVID-19 plan for students with disabilities, ensuring that they have the tools they need to thrive during this pandemic.

On July 8, you stated in the legislature that you’ve been in touch with disability rights leaders, but there is still no plan to support the learning requirements of 340,000 students with special education needs.

Firstly, we are concerned about the lack of any uniform guidance on the issue of school exclusions. The AODA Alliance has reported that a majority of Ontario’s 72 school boards do not even have a policy guiding the use of exclusions.

This could set the stage for exclusions to be applied by administrators when schools lack the resources to accommodate students with disabilities.

Your Ministry should issue guidelines to school boards on the use of exclusions without delay, so that no student with a disability is unfairly denied the right to learn with their peers.

Another area where some students with disabilities have been denied equal learning opportunities relates to the discrepancies in how online learning has been implemented. Depending on the school board, different platforms with wildly varying levels of accessibility are being used. It is important for the Ministry to be supporting boards to ensure their online learning systems are equitable and accessible to all students.

Finally, your government has committed only $10 million in additional funding for students with special education needs to date. This amounts to a paltry investment of $34 per disabled student. How could anyone believe that is sufficient to meet the challenges before us? Significant investment in hiring additional educational assistants

and reducing class sizes is crucial to ensuring that all students’ learning needs are supported.

Minister, people with disabilities have been among those hit the hardest by this pandemic. This includes education, where many students with special education needs have struggled with the transition to distance learning.

In order to ensure that students with disabilities can thrive in the classroom or remotely, it is crucial that your Ministry develops a plan in consultation with the disability community, and puts real resources behind it.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Joel Harden

Official Opposition Critic for Accessibility & People with Disabilities

MPP for Ottawa Centre

Marit Stiles

Official Opposition Critic for Education

MPP for Davenport

Monique Taylor

Official Opposition Critic for Children & Youth Services

MPP for Hamilton Mountain



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When Street Design Leaves Some People Behind


Expanding road space for bikes can limit accessibility for others – a balancing act for street planners and disability advocates. By John Surico
August 13, 2020

A person in an electric wheelchair crosses a street in Hawthorne, California. Adding bike infrastructure is a boon for cyclists, but some street redesigns can make getting around harder for disabled road users.

Last month, cycling advocates in the U.K. cheered the opening of Manchester’s “CYCLOPS.” Short for “Cycle Optimised Protected Signals,” the redesigned junction is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, land of the difficult roundabout. Cyclists can ride seamlessly around the “external orbital cycle route,” separate from pedestrians, who cross cycle lanes and traffic islands, and in sync with motor vehicle traffic. It will act as a blueprint, advocates say, for future junction design.

But for some pedestrians, CYCLOPS is riddled with conflict. Those who are blind or partially sighted told me that the flattened curbs offer little indication that cyclists are approaching from either direction. The traffic-island-hopping produces multiple pressure points. People with hearing issues have trouble picking up the quiet hum of bicycle traffic. If this is the future, then accessibility advocates are concerned.

The disabled community is no stranger to shaping street design. As Sara Hendren recently wrote in CityLab, it was the work of activists who called out the normative “user” that paved the way to the Americans With Disabilities Act and made curb cuts mainstream. Projects like CYCLOPs represent the newest chapter of that same struggle, as cities shift from car-centric infrastructure toward “complete streets”-style redesigns meant to promote bikes, pedestrians and other forms of “active travel.” But what may be heralded as expanded space for one kind of road user can be a new hurdle to overcome for another. And as the Covid-19 pandemic accelerates such street reconfiguration, activists are worried that new changes will not take their experiences into account.

Growing up with a disabled parent in New York, I learned early on that every curb cut matters. Accessibility can be particularly tricky in underground mass transit: Only a quarter of New York City’s subway stations, for example, are ADA-accessible. It’s an issue of growing global importance. The number of people with disabilities living in cities around the world is estimated to reach nearly a billion by 2050. And solutions can be hard to come by.

Street access disputes are a hot topic in London, as I found out after moving to the U.K. capital last year. Last September, during London’s “Car-Free Day,” Will Norman, the city’s “cycling mayor,” was giving a speech on future plans amongst a favorable audience, before activists confronted him to ask about what they perceived as systemic design flaws in new bike-friendly street changes that made life more difficult for those on foot.

One big issue is the bus stop bypass, where cycle lanes go around floating bus stops in order to avoid entering traffic. At least 50 of these new features have been installed along London’s “Cycle Superhighways” since 2010 as a means of boosting bike ridership. But there’s a catch: Essentially, bus riders getting on or off from the sidewalk must first cross a cycle lane.

Later, activists also showed me videos on Twitter of other schemes I had taken for granted. In Glasgow, a new pedestrian crossing fell in the middle of a busy cycle lane. In Amsterdam, where conflict between pedestrians and cyclists is rising, a woman with sight issues had her cane whisked away. In London, dockless e-bikes left on sidewalks are blocking access and leading to injury.

“In London, often streets cannot be widened in any way, so when you wish to include cyclists, you could do something with regards to the outer lane, but that’s impinging on motor traffic,” said Karl Farrell, a member of the National Federation of the Blind of the U.K. and Transport for All, who is featured in the London video at the link below. “Or you take away from the footway. There’s obviously a lot of pressure on main roads, and the problem is there’s so much motor traffic. It’s hard to resolve that in a hurry. Normally, it’s the footways that have to yield and take the pressure, and society is likely to ignore those people.”

The U.K.’s Equality Act, which bans discrimination against disabled users, clearly states that local planners should push forward with a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate claim.” But it can be difficult in practice, as interpretations vary in what is ultimately a complex environment. (Advocates also argue that models for bike infrastructure in the U.K. are based on examples from Dutch or Danish cities, which can ignore local realities.)

Bike activists tend to stress “subjective safety,” or how one experiences the street – but often only for cyclists.

Take, for example, this issue of cycling near bus stops. Bike riders could just go around the bus stop and enter the motor traffic lane, but that may discourage cyclists (and also slow down buses, which move more people). The bus stop bypass idea may be thought of as the proportionate response – except it also yields issues of accessibility.

As cyclists, walkers, bus riders and drivers duel over the same real estate, this give-and-take leads to disagreement, said John Dales, an urban designer and planner who advises City Hall on these issues. (So much so that in 2018, Westminster actually issued a temporary moratorium on new “shared space” plans.) Bike activists, he told me, tend to stress “subjective safety,” or how one experiences the street – but often only for cyclists. Similarly, disabled advocates can sometimes be quick to shoot down a project, if it doesn’t meet demands. And that, too, is problematic, considering the citywide goal for 80% of trips to be done by sustainable modes by 2041.

“Start with: We have a problem. It’s what we have to work out to solve,” Dales told me. He advocated for a reasonable adjustment approach: “It’s then the job of practitioners and public authorities to say, “OK, we hear that, we’ll do the best we can.’” (It’s not always that easy, he admitted.)

But cities should consider a third option, Dales says: “Nobody’s questioning the traffic on the route. It’s the bullet that nobody really wants to bite. In several of these high streets, it’s the logical conclusion that traffic will have to be reduced.”

By instituting things like congestion pricing schemes that reduce the number of cars on the road, Dales says, cyclists would feel more comfortable navigating around buses, more space can be given to pedestrians, and streets wouldn’t need to have expensive new design features installed. “That’s just where we’re headed.”

But how can cities be proactive, rather than reactive, to accessible design?

Activists told me that social-media-bolstered advocacy must be paired with institutional representation. The number of local “access officers” in London, who typically work on these issues, was cut dramatically during post-2008 austerity. (London does not have a designated “accessibility” commissioner, either.) That lands this work on the desks of busy planners and designers, who hold varying lived experiences.

“They’re designing things that are causing problems that they don’t even realize they’re causing,” said designer Ross Atkin. “There’s an expectation to follow the standards to build an accessible street. But if you’ve got a situation where the space and geometry is different, or you’re building something that didn’t exist when they created it, then the standard is very brittle. It doesn’t tell you what the next best thing is, because the standard doesn’t tell you anything about the needs behind the standard.”

Atkin is an urban designer who follows social model theory: that is, it’s the built environment and cultural norms that disable people, not the impairments themselves. (Social model theorists opt to use the phrasing “disabled people,” instead of “people with disabilities.” I followed that notion here.) He’s working to create an accessible city through assistive and smart city tech, like “responsive street furniture” that communicates with disabled users via Bluetooth, or plans that can be read by blind or partially sighted users, so officials can effectively consult beforehand. (He provided similar materials for CYCLOPS.)

What is needed, he said, is a codified method of compromise. Case in point: tactile paving. These textured street surfaces help those with sight issues navigate seamless curbs – a popular traffic calming measure. They also partially hinder wheelchair users. But without it, blind or partially sighted users are entirely excluded, which is a greater net loss. “The important thing is acknowledging that in some cases, you might be making things a bit more difficult for one group in order to include another group,” Atkin said. “It’s all trade-offs. What we want to be doing is making the best trade-offs we can.”

This is the idea behind a new street accessibility standard Atkin, Dales and others are helping to design for the City of London Corporation, the body that oversees a tract of central London called the Square Mile. It studies the journeys of numerous user categories through various experimental models. The criteria is a spectrum: easy, frustrating, difficult or uncomfortable, and excluding or unpassable. “You can model a street that wasn’t included on the route, and work out how accessibility would be to these different groups,” Atkin said. “From a standards perspective, you can say, “Well this is the first step that we’re going to get our streets to.’ We’re going to ensure that nobody is excluded by anything on the streets.”

For advocates like Farrell, a city isn’t truly livable to the growing number of disabled people in cities like him until its streets feel safe to walk down, no matter what condition. But often he feels overlooked by design and planning processes. While cities everywhere are more formally recognizing accessibility as a key pillar of cities, he said that decades worth of work from advocates shouldn’t disappear in the name of sustainability. Solutions, he said, will come faster if everyone works together.

“These near-misses or low-impact collisions, they’re not recorded anywhere. But these things are important in society,” Farrell told me. “People should feel free, and anyone that is in the modern categories of vulnerability shouldn’t feel vulnerable using things like bus stops or walking along pavements.”

“That’s part of the quality of life: life itself.”

Original at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-13/do-bike-lanes-have-an-accessibility-problem#that-jump-content




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