By Natalie Anderson
There are many mundane factors of life that people do not think about which prevent individuals with disabilities from traveling to other locations by public transportation thereby preventing them from everyday necessities. Many people do not have to think about the infrastructure of the city or how they are going to get from one location to another because these factors do not affect them. For example, most people do not have to worry about the width of the sidewalk, the uneven terrain, walking up the steps, getting on the bus, or navigating debris or cracks in the path. However, individuals in wheelchairs or walkers must continuously consider these travel queries in their daily lives. They must plan a different route for themselves or just adapt to a new lifestyle. Consequently, since most people never have to worry about such travel issues, they in hand are overlooking people who are in dire need of such ADA accessibility accommodations.
This summer, I worked as a Greenville ADA (Americans Disabilities Act) assessment fellow. My partner and I traveled throughout the Greenville County collecting data at each bus stop in hopes to make the stops compliant through the ADA. At each stop we measured sidewalks, curb cuts, and shelters to see if there was enough space for a wheelchair or walker to navigate the sidewalk or fit in the shelter. Additionally, we assessed bus stops that had a landing area or pad to ensure a wheelchair could access the bus. By doing so, we wanted to make sure that a wheelchair did not have to go on uneven terrain to get on the bus. We also interacted and engaged with many people that inhabit the Greenville community and utilize the Greenville transit system.
Our work is crucial because it focuses on how accessible our city really is. Accessibility creates easy access for all populations and does not create barriers. Accessibility means independence and freedom because these individuals can live the lives they want to. Accessibility is necessary because it creates equal opportunity and inclusion for all people. When everything is accessible, people are connected to their community and employment.
Pictured above: Kayleigh Sullivan and I. Kayleigh is the transit development and grants coordinator. She was the head and supervisor of our project this summer.
If you would like more information on Greenlink, please go here: https://www.greenvillesc.gov/151/Greenlink-Transit