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Federal Court Rules NYC Discriminates Against Blind and Low Vision Pedestrians by Failing to Make Crosswalk Signals Accessible

New York, NY – In a decision that will remake the streetscape of New York City and improve safety and accessibility for all New Yorkers, a federal court ruled today that New York City’s failure to provide accessible pedestrian signals (APS) at 96.6 % of its signalized intersections violates the civil rights of people with disabilities. APS are push-button devices attached to crosswalks that convey visual crossing information in audible and vibro-tactile formats accessible to blind, low vision, and Deafblind pedestrians.

Calgary Accessibility Advocate Reminds People to Clear Snow and Ice From Sidewalks

Jordan Kanygin CTV News Calgary Video Journalist
Published Wednesday, December 23, 2020

CALGARY — Anyone who has been outside in Calgary since the snow started falling on Monday evening knows it’s difficult to get around whether it’s vehicles slipping and sliding on roads or people trudging through heavy snow on walkways.

But the massive snowfall is an even bigger roadblock for those who have limited mobility.

“Snow makes it impassable,” says Sean Crump with Universal Access Inc., a company that works on initiatives to make the city more accessible for all Calgarians.

Ruling on B.C. Bus Stops Reflects Cities ‘Terrible’ Track Record on Accessibility, Plaintiff Says

‘Floating’ bus stops used by many cities discriminate against blind people, human rights tribunal finds Bethany Lindsay, CBC News
Posted: Nov 21, 2020

A human rights ruling that found Victoria’s so-called “floating” bus stops discriminate against blind people could have implications for other B.C. cities that use similar designs.

Last week, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal upheld a complaint filed by Oriano Belusic, vice-president of the Canadian Federation of the Blind, about bus stops that require transit riders to cross a protected bike lane to catch their bus.

Belusic argued the stops, located along Pandora Avenue and Wharf Street, are dangerous for blind and vision-impaired bus riders, who often can’t hear the sound of oncoming bicycles over the traffic noise.

Saskatoon’s Council Chambers Sees Significant Renovation

CTV News Saskatoon Staff
Published Monday, November 16, 2020

When Saskatoon’s new city council sits for the first time, it will be in an upgraded council chambers.

This past fall, council chambers underwent renovations to improve its function and accessibility, the city said in a news release.

Improvements include audio visual upgrades to improve video and audio of council meetings; changes to room configuration to improve accessibility and enable physical distancing; a new space for media; new paint, carpeting and gallery seating.

Council chambers has not seen this level of renovation since 1981, the city said.

BC Human Rights Tribunal Upholds Complaint That Victoria Bike Lanes Discriminate Against the Blind

Adam Chan
CTV News, November 13, 2020

VICTORIA — The BC Human Rights Tribunal says a complaint filed against the City of Victoria arguing that bike lanes that separate sidewalks from “floating bus stops” create unsafe conditions for blind pedestrians is justified.

The dispute began in 2018, after the Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB) submitted a complaint centred around the perceived dangers of crossing the bike lanes to access floating bus stops along Pandora Street, between Cook Street and Store Street, and on Wharf Street.

The CFB said that blind people felt unsafe crossing the marked crosswalk along the bike lane to access the transit stops because they were unable to hear approaching bicycles, which sometimes would not stop for pedestrians.

Ottawa Inventor Sees Rising Interest in Hands-Free Elevator-hailing App

By: David Sali
Published: Oct 23, 2020

Before the pandemic struck, Ke Wang had devoted the better part of the last two years to developing a smartphone app that would allow people with disabilities like himself to open doors and call elevators without touching any handles or buttons.

Little did he know his invention targeted at a niche market would capture the attention of Canadas largest airport and a global hotel chain before 2020 was out.

Once we got it done, all of a sudden COVID happened and then people realized that we can use this to avoid touching buttons, says Wang, founder of Ottawa-based ProtoDev Canada, the five-person company that created the new Contactless Access app. He adds that the company received a flood of interest from customers interested in the product for uses that extend beyond accessibility.

Former Lawyers File Human Rights Complaints, Allege Accessibility Issues in Manitoba Courts

‘I’ve had multiple judges apologize to me for how inaccessible the courtroom is,’ says Mike Reimer CBC News
Posted: Oct 20, 2020

Two former lawyers have filed human rights complaints against the province, saying Manitoba’s law courts are not fully accessible for people living with disabilities.

Mike Reimer and Peter Tonge left the profession in part because they said they faced ongoing challenges getting into and out of courts.

In a joint news release Tuesday, the two former lawyers said they have each filed a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, alleging accessibility issues and “an attitude of indifference ” within the Manitoba justice system” to correcting “historic and ongoing issues.”

New Restaurants, Cafes in N.S. Must Be Accessible to Meet Food Safety Requirements

Changes set to come into effect Oct. 31
Brooklyn Currie
CBC News
Posted: Oct 02, 2020

Any new sit-down restaurants and cafes starting up in Nova Scotia will need an accessible washroom, entrances and pathways to meet food safety requirements.

It’s part of the province’s commitment to being fully accessible by 2030, according to a news release.

In 2018, a group of wheelchair users argued equal access to restaurants and restaurant washrooms is a human rights issue.

A human rights board of inquiry ruled in their favour, saying the province discriminated against wheelchair users by not enforcing a regulation requiring restaurants to have accessible washrooms.

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal orders nanaimo strata to take action on barriers that trapped woman in condo

Bethany Lindsay
CBC News
Posted: Sep 17, 2020

A Nanaimo woman who has fought for accessibility improvements that would allow her to go to and from her home without help has won her human rights complaint.

A Vancouver Island wheelchair user who has spent years asking her strata for changes to make it possible to go to and from her condo safely and without help from friends has won $35,000 in damages and an order for action on her complaints.

Last week, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ordered the owners at the Eagle Point Bayview complex in Nanaimo to begin the process of making their building wheelchair accessible, and to pay a penalty to 76-year-old Ada Jacobsen for injury to her dignity, feelings and selfârespect.

B.C. Senior Who Was Called A ‘Loser’ for Demanding Accessibility in Condo Building Wins $35K

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal orders Nanaimo strata to take action on barriers that trapped woman in condo Bethany Lindsay
CBC News
Posted: Sep 17, 2020

A Nanaimo woman who has fought for accessibility improvements that would allow her to go to and from her home without help has won her human rights complaint.

A Vancouver Island wheelchair user who has spent years asking her strata for changes to make it possible to go to and from her condo safely and without help from friends has won $35,000 in damages and an order for action on her complaints.

Accessibility Compliance Not Being Enforced Says City Councillor

Mike Arsenault Video Journalist
Published Friday, August 14, 2020

WINNIPEG — Construction in Winnipeg can be a nuisance for many, but for people with mobility restrictions, it’s more than just inconvenient.

As the city works to repair roads and sidewalks, some have noticed it appears accessibility compliance rules aren’t being followed.

Allen Mankewich has to push his wheelchair through gravel and over curbs just to get into his condo.

Hargrave Street south of Ellice Avenue is getting road work done, and it’s making life for Mankewich very challenging.

“I’ve noticed they’re not necessarily creating accessible alternative pathways around construction zones,” said Mankewich.

St. John’s Pedestrian Mall Accessibility Will Change, Vows Mayor, After Facebook Post Highlights Problems

Post of wheelchair user unable to navigate area shared almost 1,000 times CBC News
Posted: Jul 09, 2020

The mayor of St. John’s says the city is working to improve accessibility at the new downtown pedestrian mall after a social media post drew attention to the numerous mobility challenges of the area.

In a Facebook post shared almost 1,000 times, Lisa Walters recounted her experience trying, and mostly failing, to visit downtown businesses while in her wheelchair.

“Between all the businesses with no ramps, the clothing racks, patios and bistro tables blocking off huge sections of sidewalk and the lack of access to accessible washrooms, the only real accessible activity you can do at the pedestrian mall is just stroll down the middle of the street,” she said in the post.

Fundraising: Peterborough Kiwanis Donates Trail Chairs to Camp Kawartha

By Caroline McConnell, Special to the Examiner
Mon., June 29, 2020

The hiking trails at Camp Kawartha, both at the main site on Clear Lake and others behind the Environment Centre in Peterborough, just became more accessible thanks to a generous donation of two specialized trail chairs by The Kiwanis Club of Peterborough and Motion Peterborough.

“We are absolutely delighted to add these chairs to our accessibility equipment,” said Jacob Rodenburg, Camp Kawartha’s executive director, in a release last week. “These chairs are much more robust than the average wheelchair, and this means any camper or student can join with their peers and friends in an exciting hike through the woods.”

City Improving on Accessibility But More Can Be Done

By Jensen, Randy on June 24, 2020.
Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

While the City is taking several important steps in leading the way for greater accessibility and mobility in its business units, more effort is needed to apply the effort more evenly, explained City of Lethbridge Mobility/Accessibility Master Plan project lead Chris Witkowski.

“Compared to where we were just five years ago, we have come a long way,” stated Witkowski during Monday’s Communities Issues Committee meeting. “For a lot of the business units who deal with infrastructure it really is coming to the forefront of any project, and something which automatically gets built in. We do have a ways to go; especially with the backlog of some of the deficient infrastructure. We have to work on consistency of our mobility improvements. We can’t just have different improvements throughout different sections of the city.”

Residents Complain About Lack of Accessibility for Wheelchair Users

Tyson Fedor CTV News Calgary Video Journalist
@CTV_TysonFedor Contact
Published Tuesday, June 16, 2020

CALGARY –Llano Gorman has lived in his Glendale Meadows home for more than 30 years.

He has had more than a dozen surgeries on his legs, which has made him rely on a wheelchair and electric scooter for mobility.

He says accessing sidewalks,or even crossing the street, can be a real challenge.

“We shouldn’t – as anybody that needs a ramp – (have to) fight the city for years to get it done,” said Gorman.

“It’s ridiculous.”

Gorman has wanted the access to wheelchair ramps at many of his neighbourhoods’ intersections, making progress on some, but not others.

Why Coronavirus May Make the World More Accessible

BBC Future

With millions under lockdown, many non-disabled people are experiencing, for the first time, how it feels to have external barriers preventing you from participating in everyday life.

But although countries around the world have put policies and practices in place to make public spaces, workplaces and other aspects of society more accessible, many barriers still exist for people with disabilities.

With disabled people making up 15% of the global population, greater accessibility has the potential to improve millions of lives of those 1.3 billion people. But it would help the non-disabled population, too.

People With Visual Impairments Struggling to Access Essentials During coronavirus Restrictions

By Shelley Steeves -Global News
Originally Posted May 1, 2020

According to the CNIB Foundation of New Brunswick, residents with visual impairments are struggling to navigate their communities amid coronavirus restrictions.

Christine Kennedy-Babineau, the program and resource development manager for CNIB New Brunswick, said some of the changes that have been made at grocery stores are presenting a challenge for people with vision loss.

“Now we have lines where you are supposed to go to line up and arrows directing traffic flow through stores and someone with sight loss who is blind or partially sighted isn’t able to see them,” Kennedy-Babineau said.

Vaudreuil Residents Struggle With Lack of Accessibility During Winter

By Kwabena Oduro -Global News
Posted February 18, 2020

Piero Gervasi, who is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair, recently moved into a condo in Vaudreuil for more accessibility.

The interior of the condo has an open concept, with elevators and an exterior ramp, but Gervasi has been dealing with parking issues since he moved there in May.

The issues started with people parking in his spot, he said, adding things have gotten worse since winter began.

“I would like somebody to understand the accessibility for me to get in and out of my own place that I paid for that I cannot,” Gervasi said.

Judge Finds NYPD Liable, Must Provide People with Disabilities Access to Police Stations

Ruling affirms and holds NYPD accountable for broad inaccessibility of police precinct stations

Police department must include disability community as it works to eliminate barriers

NEW YORK A federal judge has issued a major ruling holding the New York City Police Department (NYPD) liable for discrimination against people with disabilities by shutting them out of police precincts.

“In the thirty years since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (‘ADA’) the City of New York and NYC Police Department (‘NYPD’) have made little progress eliminating physical barriers to access to NYPD’s police stations,” wrote U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni of the Southern District of New York in her ruling yesterday. “Plaintiffs have now shown that those barriers are not merely theoretical or technicalthey have actually prevented individuals with mobility disabilities from accessing the benefits of services provided from stations.”

Advocates, Industry Await Plan to Make N.S. Restaurant Washrooms Accessible

Working group collected ideas, concerns in series of meetings last fall Shaina Luck, CBC News
Posted: Feb 13, 2020

The restaurant industry and accessibility advocates alike are hoping to hear back from the Nova Scotia government in the next few months on a plan to make every restaurant washroom in the province accessible, a process that’s expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.

Late last year, a working group wrapped up a series of Justice Department meetings designed to gather input on the issue, said Gordon Stewart, the executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia.