MAYOR RAVENSTAHL WELCOMES ADA-FRIENDLY TAXIS, HIGHLIGHTS OTHER EFFORTS TO BENEFIT PITTSBURGH'S DISABILITIES COMMUNITY
(PITTSBURGH) Feb. 11, 2013 Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today joined Pittsburgh Transportation Group (PTG) and members of the City and County American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Taskforce in welcoming 15 new, handicapped-accessible taxis to offer service to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.
(Media-Newswire.com) - ( PITTSBURGH ) Feb. 11, 2013 Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today joined Pittsburgh Transportation Group ( PTG ) and members of the City and County American with Disabilities Act ( ADA ) Taskforce in welcoming 15 new, handicapped-accessible taxis to offer service to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The taxis made their first official “run” today picking up Lucy Spruill, an ADA taskforce member, and bringing her to the press announcement held at Market Square.
“Since I’ve been Mayor, we’ve made significant strides in making sure that Pittsburgh is a livable city for everyone,” said Ravenstahl, “This has included the installation of over 500 ADA-friendly crosswalks and an aggressive plan to make all City intersections audible and safe for the hearing- and vision-impaired. As we continue to improve our efforts, I’m thrilled that PTG has recognized the needs of Pittsburgh’s disabled community by adding handicapped-accessible taxis to its fleet.”
The vehicles were built to include dramatic enhancements in accessibility, comfort, durability and safety for the ADA community.
“Built for as many as six individuals including the driver, wheelchair or scooter, and four additional passengers, they clearly are the best specialized vehicle on the market,” said Jamie Campolongo, PTG President. “This robust design allows the wheelchair passenger to actually ride shotgun and not be relegated to the rear of the vehicle. “
Fares remain the same as they are for all Yellow Cabs. For wheelchair service, the customer simply calls Yellow Cab at 412-321-8100 and requests wheelchair service.
“Having accessible taxis in Pittsburgh is a great feature for residents and visitors with disabilities and we salute Mayor Ravenstahl and the Pittsburgh Transportation Group for recognizing this need,” said ADA Taskforce Chair Paul O’Hanlon.
At the announcement, Mayor Ravenstahl highlighted other steps the City is taking to improve the ADA environment. Last year, the Mayor created the City’s One Step Packet, which provides business owners with information on federal ADA requirements and available resources, such as information on the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s small business programs that may provide financial assistance for businesses wishing to become ADA-friendly. In addition, the Mayor introduced legislation that waives over $200 in permitting fees that a business owner must pay when making handicapped-accessible renovations. The One Step Packet can be obtained by visiting pittsburghpa.gov/dcp or by calling the Mayor’s 3-1-1 Response Line.
“The One Step Packet not only helps the disabilities community improve life quality, but it also benefits business owners,” said Lucy Spruill, Issues Director for United Cerebral Palsy. “By removing the barrier created by a single step, businesses open themselves up to the entire community by being inclusive of people with mobility disabilities. This is a win-win solution for both sides.”
The packet also includes a listing of architectural firms who have committed to providing no-cost, or low-cost, services to businesses interested in creating an accessible entrance.
“With the goal of accessibility at its heart, this customer-friendly packet provides information that could help businesses make capital improvements at a significantly reduced cost,” Ravenstahl said.
At the Mayor’s direction, the City has been working hard to install more ADA-friendly curb ramps at City intersections and audible traffic signals for the visually impaired. These audible traffic signals safely instruct visually impaired pedestrians when and which way it is safe to cross and include vibrating arrows for deaf pedestrians.
Other efforts include the creation of the ADA Coordinator position and the addition of an accessibility checklist to the Special Event Permit Applications, which guides event organizers on how to make events more accessible. The City has developed a strategy to make all the traffic signals audible over the next 10 years. Hospital Compliance Guidelines for Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing consumers was recently released and a similar packet is in the works for cognitively impaired consumers.
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