Inaccessible = Unacceptable

Sign at the metro station telling people who need an elevator to call some body to get them a shuttle bus. But not from this station. MAD!

Dear Metro,

I hope it’s okay that I call you “Metro,” since you have so many names. We call you the train, subway and, when we want to get most official, WMATA.

What is the name that we can call you that will get your attention?

Because if I had your attention, you would know that I am not shocked. I am not appalled. I am not sickened. No, I am angry, with the shutdown of the elevator at my stop.

Do you have any idea that this is the stop for the National Rehabilitation Hospital? For the Washington VA Hospital? For the Washington Hospital Center? Did you know that these major hospitals serve many people who use wheelchairs. That they need to use their wheelchairs to get to their appointments, their therapy sessions, their chemotherapy?

So when you shut down the elevator at the station that serves these hospitals, you are seriously impacting the people trying to access services they need.

I get that the elevator needs to be “improved.” I can even accept that to switch out an elevator takes four months.

Okay, I can barely accept that. If you were building it new, it wouldn’t take four months, would it? And if it takes four months, why is the first month building the walls around it to close it? I only ask because I haven’t seen anybody working on it. But there’s green painted plywood blocking it.

But I’m thinking if I’m in a wheelchair and I have an appointment to see my doctor and I get to the station, I’m stuck. I can’t get out of the station. I have to call a random number on the flyer to transport me from another stop. And I have to get back on the train and go to that other stop.

Do you think that’s okay? Do you think that pasting a paper sign over a “wet floor” stanchion is decent notice? Do you think it’s cool to require somebody to call a number for a ride? Don’t you think that the shuttle should be waiting at the stop? Which stop, you ask? How about all immediately surrounding stops?

This makes me mad because the person in the wheelchair is already put upon by the fact that the elevator is on one side of the tracks. So if you’re coming from the campus side, you need to roll another half mile to get to the elevator. You know, the elevator that’s out of service for four months

Seriously, WMATA, is there any way you could make it harder for folks who need an elevator to get to or from your platform? It’s like you want to fail. Like you want to turn people away. Your accommodation accommodates only in the abstract. In practice you suck. You are not coming within a western state of complying with the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. From 1990. I was there when it was signed. By the President.

The subway could–theoretically–be a way for people with disabilities be more independent. Not this subway. Not at this time.

Please fix this most soonest.</rant>


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