Follow by Email

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

WW (formerly Weight Watchers) Should cut monthly fee -- Part 2

$45 per month is way too much to pay for a phone app and no in person meetings

WW (Weight Watchers) must cut monthly fee. I'm a fan. I've lost 35 pounds. But a billion dollar company can cut its price in half during a pandemic. People can't afford to pay $45 per month while in person meetings are canceled. https://urbantravelandaccessibility.blogspot.com/2020/03/honeybear-siamese-cat-part-2.html
@ww_us
@Oprah
#CoroniaVirus

Monday, March 30, 2020

WW (formerly Weight Watchers) Should cut monthly fee

$45 per month is way too much to pay for a phone app and no in person meetings
Is WW (formerly Weight Watchers) considering charging half price?

With all due respect to online, for me it is about 1/10 the experience of in person.

Our nation is hit with job loss, reduced hours, increased child care costs, loss of nest egg.
If WW cares, it would cut fees during crisis.

@ww_us

@Oprah


Sunday, March 29, 2020

CELEBRATING 225,000 READERS

PROUD TO SHARE MY WORDS AND IMAGES WITH THE WORLD


This blog has been around for nearly a decade.

More than 2,500 stories have been posted.

Nearly 2,000 original color images – taken on a series of Nikon Digital cameras by yours truly – have been posted.

The advocacy for people with disabilities has been ramped up.

The vivid color photography has portrayed street life in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul, Marrakech, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Mexico City and dozens of urban locations in the USA.

The text would fill nearly four books.

The topics are relevant to urban designers, town planners, mobility engineers, landscape architects, architects, sustainability experts and others who impact our built environment.



Thursday, March 26, 2020

New Airline Seat Design Will Allow Disabled Passengers to Fly in Their Own Wheelchairs

MY PREDICTION -- IT WON'T BE IN WIDE USE FOR ANOTHER TWO DECADES


When I saw this story, I smiled and my heart fluttered a bit.

Maybe, not long after things get back to normal, maybe people with disabilities could fly like the rest of human beings.

No more shameful percentage of damaged wheelchairs.

No more laws that treat wheelchairs like luggage instead of the legs and essential mobility of millions.

And end to business people who uses wheelchairs for mobility wearing diapers because planes are designed to prevent them from making it to the bathroom that is too small for them to get into or use.

A gradual end to people with disabilities being the most unemployed and under employed of any minority group.

Then I caught myself.

This is one small firm’s dream.

It is seeking crowd sourced funding.

That means not a single air carrier is interested in investing toward pathway to being inclusive.

It means or president, senate and house of congress doesn’t give a damn about government research funding for design that would uplift the lives of tens of millions.

It means no aircraft mechanic, flight attendant, pilot or other union wants to end painful and wicked discrimination by making a stand for onboard wheelchair access.

It means there’s a better than 50-50 chance that my wife and I will be dead and buried long before there’s so much as a test flight on a one hour short route.


It means the only efficient means for business travel will remain largely off limits and discriminatory against people with disabilities.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

WILL SOUTH FLORIDA'S LEADERS LEARN TO PRESERVE AGRICULTURE

 AND DIVERSIFY THE ECONOMY POST PANDEMIC?

I remember years ago, talking to a person who distributed produce from a rail head in Allapattah – before it became the next Wynwood-like hot spot for artsy urban development.

When I asked if the produce came from the Redland, the person laughed at me.  He told me virtually all of it comes from the seaport, a little from the airport.

He said it will always be cheaper to grow fresh food in South America, Central America, Mexico, even farther flung places and ship it through Port Miami and MIA.

Well, what happens when there is a pandemic or some other global crisis? What happens when the source nation (wisely) needs to hold onto its produce to feed its own?

What happens when the cost of fuel makes it no longer viable to depend on places hundreds to thousands of miles away for Miami’s essential fresh food?

What happens, because of pandemic or other cause the cargo planes stop flying, the cargo ship arrivals are reduced to a tiny fraction of typical sea traffic?

I hope, when live returns to something resembling normal, that our elected and appointed leaders prevent any land suitable for agriculture from being turned into pavement and rooftops.

I hope they pay more than lip service to diversifying the economy. The under write and subsidize billionaires every day. Those taxpayer funds used to enrich the richest could be redirected as seed money for organic farming on a scale never before undertaken here.

I hope they ignore the endless influence of mega wealthy donors who want tourism and concrete to be the be all and end all for greater Miami’s economy till the end of days.

I’m an optimist, but if we keep greenlighting projects that pave over precious agricultural land and perpetuate policy that forces a huge portion of our residents to pay half their gross income to put a roof over their head – I think South Florida’s end of days may come much sooner than later.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

WILL SOUTH FLORIDA'S LEADERS LEARN TO PRESERVE AGRICULTURE

AND DIVERSIFY THE ECONOMY POST PANDEMIC?



While I very much appreciate greater Miami’s two ports – the sea one and air one – I wonder if they have doomed us.

For two decades, I have lived in South Florida, I have heard city, county, state and federal elected officials talk about diversifying our economy.

Yes it seems like we are reliant, to a terrifyingly high percentage, on what comes in via plane (tourists and cargo) and by ship (cargo and tourists.)

No matter who much we talk about creating better paying jobs, almost everyone works in a low-paying job serving tourists or moving products. What there is of a middle class works in designing, building, maintaining, etc. the roads, buildings, houses, stores that support the service class.

Clearly, about 20% of Miami workers have already lost their jobs and maybe up to half (because our economy is so dependent on the jobs that disappear the most quickly when crisis comes) will be hit with either layoffs, reduced hours, reduced pay, reduced benefits, or paying higher share of their healthcare.

That is terrifying but what scares me even more is the way I’ve seen the Redland and other agricultural areas reduced for development. Real estate development is just about as flimsy as depending on waiter/barkeep/maid/line cook/pool attendant to fuel your economy.

And once a chunk of the Redland is paved over for houses, apartments, strip malls – it is gone forever.

Our leaders have even allowed industrial park/warehouse distribution to be developed within the area supposedly reserved forever as territory outside the urban development boundary.

I’m no farmer, but I imagine lots of things don’t grow as well in the subtropics as the heartland, but I bet we could create five or tenfold more produce if we hadn’t allowed sprawl in Homestead proper and the Redland in general.

(PART 2 -- CONCLUSION -- TOMORROW)

Monday, March 23, 2020

ADA @ 30 -- PART E

TRUTH

If a city -- large, medium or small -- cannot fix, maintain and patrol its sidewalks (the most basic, inexpensive, democratic means of mobility for all people of all incomes & abilities), it has no business:

Paying for pro sports stadiums.

Building shiny things for influential billionaires.



Sunday, March 22, 2020

MICROMOBILITY HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE AN URBAN ASSET --


BUT PLANNERS MUST ACT QUICKLY TO ENSURE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE NOT LEFT BEHIND


I am so proud to be the go-to journalist on matters of planning and urban design for people with disabilities.

I have had a half dozen cover and center spread stories published already in this young year.



Thanks to the wonderful and exacting editors at Planning Magazine for publishing the first comprehensive report in the world on micromobility and its impact on people with disabilities.



And thanks to my wonderful clients -- in the town planning, urban design, landscape architecture, transportation engineering, architecture, mobility, sustainability, non-profit and urban infill development fields -- for supporting my storytelling about universal design, inclusive mobility and access for all.

Read Planning Magazine's major March feature story here:




Saturday, March 21, 2020

ADA @ 30 -- PART D

TRUTH
You are a planner/urban designer/transport engineer/architect claiming to make a healthy impact on society. 

But you steadfastly refuse to consider people with disabilities -- who account for upwards of 20% of population -- in your public and private sector designs. 

You cannot make a positive impact if you are refusing to accommodate people with disabilities.



Friday, March 20, 2020

ADA @ 30 -- PART C

TRUTH


Disability is everywhere in nature.

Should we fill in a waterfall because the river is "broken?" 

Should we cement up beloved rock formations because the wind had "disabled the landscape?" 

Disability is natural.

Disability is Diversity.

Diversity is Strength.



Thursday, March 19, 2020

ADA @ 30 -- PART B

TRUTH


I have NEVER (thank goodness) heard a city manager or elected official dare to say "we can't do this because the damn 

blacks...

women...

Hispanics...

Jews...

are bankrupting us with their needs."

I could fill a room with those who (illegally) say this about simple accessibility accommodations. 

Hatred is hatred.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

ADA @ 30 -- PART A

TRUTH



We would be ashamed to say "you're competent..despite your race, religion, orientation, gender..." 

But bigoted people routinely put qualifiers like that on people with disabilities.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

THE ADA TURNS 30 IN 2020

THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, CELEBRATE 30 YEARS 
OF PROGRESS IN ACCESS AND INCLUSION

Subway wheelchair access in Philadelphia


A wealth of facts, figures, links and resources are now at adaanniversary.org


Take the ADA Impact 2020 Survey, being conducted by the Southwest ADA Center, one of 10 regional centers in the ADA National Network.

It is researching the impact of the ADA, 30 years after its passage.

The site also suggests a pair of great Twitter/other social media hashtags for the 30th:



Visit the site at:   https://www.adaanniversary.org/

Phlash Bus access, Philly



Monday, March 16, 2020

BUILDING A MORE INCLUSIVE WORLD

 PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT



Internationally-acclaimed Universal Design and Inclusive Mobility expert Heidi Johnson-Wright was to deliver her 10th annual lecture on access far beyond the ADA.


The always-packed lecture, slated to take place at 1 p.m. today (Monday March 16) Glasgow Hall at the University of Miami School of Architecture, has been postponed.



Some golden quotes from Johnson-Wright, who was a featured presenter at the national AIA conference in 2018:

Just because it’s ramped doesn’t make it accessible.

RULE OF THUMB: If a ramp is so steep you have trouble walking up it, then it’s probably not compliant.




Lifts are permitted to provide vertical accessibility in alterations, but should be avoided, if at all possible.  They frequently break down, and are thus notoriously unreliable. They typically require a key to operate – a key that no one can find. Ramps are almost always a better solution.




Sunday, March 15, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 14

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION



I have been saying for a quarter century that Urban Design is broken. 

Too many of its practitioners create brand new things that are barriers to wheelchair users, blind people, deaf people. 

We must fix the environment, not the person.

People are fine just the way they are.

"Normal" is not 5-foot-10, athletic and age 25.

Normal is a range of physical conditions and abilities in human being.

It is as diverse as the sea, dessert, forest, lake, jungle, river, mountain, valley and canyon are in nature.


Saturday, March 14, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 13

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION



The most sustainable practice on earth is to design and build houses and apartments suitable for all people and all ranges of disability. 

E-glass, low flow toilets and recycled materials are fine.

But the best way to be resilient is to allow people to age in place.

Anything less is not sustainable at all, so surrender your LEED certification, give up your green seal of approval if you are not building for all.



Friday, March 13, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 12

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION



Thinking 2020 might need a little civil disobedience on my part.

Maybe some 8x10 stickers with super adhesive backing to go on the windshield smack in the driver's line of vision stating:


"I parked in this space because I'd like the disabled person who needs it to get hurt trying to make it to: school, work, doctor, gym, park, store – without benefit of a wide space, access aisle or safe path of travel.”

Thursday, March 12, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 11

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION

My Heidi jamming with the London Police
When I casually mention during a lunch meeting that my wife is a lifelong public servant, world traveler, published author and cat rescuer who happens to use a wheelchair for mobility. 

And your reply is "what's wrong with her" 

You are an idiot.

You hate disabled people.




Wednesday, March 11, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 10

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION


Have attended 200+ planning workshops. 

Have heard officials talk about extra efforts taken to ensure people of color, immigrants, single moms etc. have their voices heard. 

(& I applaud that) 

Never have I heard a plan to get input from wheelchair users, blind or deaf people. 

Why?


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 9

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION


It is:

Shameful 

Bigoted

Egregious 

Evil 

Hateful 

Ableist 

Short sighted 

Unsustainable

Illegal

 ...to deny someone their civil rights because of the cost. 

The ADA is not a building code to be waived, it is federal civil rights legislation.

Public and private sector must be ADA compliant regardless of expense.


Monday, March 9, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 8

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION


You are living in the 21st century, but think of disabled people as half-human burdens.

How do I know this?

As the able-bodied spouse of a superstar who uses a wheelchair for mobility, I am told:

"You are a saint for marrying her."

"You have sacrificed so much."

At least 90% of the way I've evolved and grown is due to my wife.

She lifts me up.

She Rocks.


If you feel sorry for me, you are a bigot toward people with disabilities.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 7

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION

Parking for Pei Wei and Chipotle at 2283 SW 37th Ave has access aisle blocked by restaurant employees.                            The landlord, police and national chains could care less.

You hate people with disabilities when you park in an access aisle.


This is true even if you are disabled and legitimately hold a parking placard.

Or if you are in a sedan, only “waiting” for a friend to come out of the store.

My wife's ramp-equipped van is worthless if she doesn't have 8 to 10 feet to deploy the ramp from the passenger side.

The access aisle is NOT an extra space.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 6

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION


Blocking the ramp space for an accessible van causes people to miss doctor's appointments, be late for work, watch dairy items spoil -- waiting for you to move.

When you block the access aisle at an accessible space (with your motorcycle, sedan, etc) – you are breaking the law (and you clearly hate disabled people).


Friday, March 6, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 5

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION



If you keep a dead family member's parking placard for ages…

Laughing as you get over on the rest of the world with your special VIP front row parking at the mall…

And your free on-street parking downtown…

You are breaking the law.

And you hate disabled people.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 4

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION


I don’t want to hear another architect (falsely) claim that universal design or ADA compliance caused a project to go over budget.

If you cannot design for all...or at least get a consultant with that expertise...why are you in a career that impacts the public realm for decades?

This is ableism.


It is as insidious and dangerous as sexism, racism, jingoism, homophobia and any other blanket hatred of diversity.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 3

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION



Architects, engineers and other designers must deal with: HVAC, life safety, flood plain, fire code, wind code and dozens of other essential elements.

How is it possible that accessibility is the only item that baffles them and kills their creativity?

It's total B.S.

Design for all should provide an endless fount of creativity.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 2

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION


The Liberty Bell rings for all -- not just the able-bodied
It is blatantly bigoted and worse to say people with disabilities (not the barrier-filled built environment) must be fixed. 

This would be like saying racism can be fixed by bleaching black people white. 

Or homophobia could e eradicated by shock therapy to make LGBTQ folks "straight." 

IT IS WRONG.

All of these ideas are insane.

It's the 21st century. 

Embrace diversity.

Monday, March 2, 2020

CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA -- Part 1

WITH A DOZEN DAYS OF RANTS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION


Insanely broken sidewalk and curb ramp -- Philadelphia


I'm gonna smack the next designer who tells me they are free to create barriers (steps, uneven entrances, worse) in the 21st century -- because some magic walking wheelchair or exoskeleton is days from "fixing" disabled people.

1. Those things cost $250K, they work about 2 hours, they have been supposedly ready for 20 years.

2. People with disabilities DO NOT need to be fixed.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

THE ADA’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY IS COMING UP THIS SUMMER

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO OBSERVE IT?

The ADA impacts a wide array of federal civil rights, but its largest impact is on the built environment.

America is about diversity and we celebrate civil rights achievements.

Since the Americans with Disabilities Act is turning 30 this year, every city/non-profit/built environment organization is planning a big observance, right?

Wrong.

About the only thing I have found to praise so far is the New York City Chapter of the American Institute of Architects dedicating most of its quarterly publication to exploring aspects of accessibility.


"In 2020, the ADA celebrates its 30th Anniversary. At AIA New York, we would like to challenge our community to think more inclusively and creatively about how our projects can embrace and celebrate accessibility and inclusivity," the Letter from the Editor states in Oculus.


Most of the readers of my blog are urban designers, town planners, mobility engineers, landscape architects, architects, sustainability consultants and advocates for people with disabilities.

Please, demand that your professional organization stages a display, roundtable chat or other event the observes the ADA.

Make sure your local government is marking the 30th anniversary.

Ask that the professional publication of your society publish articles that explore the highs and lows of inclusive design.