|Navigating a curb midblock in Pioneer Square.|
My life was changed in a matter of seconds. I went from biking everywhere to using a walker and now crutches. The bus stop closest to my house remains out of reach, up two steep blocks. I went from car-free to being driven to work.
Now thanks to George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (I never thought I'd thank them for anything), the ADA defines a physical impairment as something that limits a major life activity -- walking for instance.
While the ADA has significantly improved walking downtown and on neighborhood streets, a missing curb cut can literally stop a physically or visually impaired person as effectively as a wall. And while my physical impairment is relatively short term, Seattle's streets remain a maze of streets without curb cuts and crosswalks with fast turning traffic.
My work neighborhood in Pioneer Square (see photo) demonstrates how critically important the ADA is to the livability of our cities and how much work remains to be done to provide universal access for all users of the transportation system, including sidewalks and intersections.
As we cyclists advocate for sharing the roads, with full access, we can learn from the disabled advocates who wrote the ADA legislation 20 years ago.