July 19, 2010
The classifieds in this issue offer a diverse group of jobs including a transit general manager and several other executive positions!
|20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
An Advocate’s Outlook on Transit Accessibility
BY DONNA McNAMEE, Member and Past President, Board of Trustees, LAKETRAN, Lake County, OH
After 25 years as a disability rights advocate and nine years as a transit board member, I have witnessed many changes in both public transit and the world at large. Chief among them is the evolution in the nation’s built environment: public transit has done more than any other industry in the lifetime of ADA to improve freedom, choice, mobility, and independence for people with disabilities.
Now, we all have the option to be customers of a public transportation system that is one of the most essential guarantors of the basic rights we share with all Americans—freedom to pursue our lives as we wish.
July 26, 2010, marks the 20th anniversary of the date when ADA was signed into law. It remains the most comprehensive federal civil rights legislation protecting the rights of people with disabilities the world has ever known.
While ADA has never been duplicated, in just 20 years it has become the world’s recognized model for other nation’s efforts toward similar civil rights protections for their citizens with disabilities.
Transit board members have a unique opportunity to help ensure that ADA is followed, not only in principle and letter, but also in spirit. At the 20th anniversary of ADA, public interest, new technologies, and an even greater emphasis on mobility and livability in our communities continue to advance mobility options for people both with and without disabilities. Many of these options go “above and beyond” ADA but fundamentally reflect the original scope and spirit of the law.
As public transit’s policymakers, we have a responsibility to help create livable communities that offer economic opportunity and are environmentally sustainable for the benefit of all our citizens. The 21st-century success stories will be the measure of how well we did today to move the nation beyond ADA of the 1990s to a nation where communities and their transit systems offer universal accessibility to everyone.
McNamee chairs the APTA Transit Board Members ADA Subcommittee and Easter Seals Project ACTION’s National Steering Committee.