Letter: Frustrated at town’s ADA response

To the Editor:

Public, be aware: Seymour’s law firm has filed a motion to dismiss my ADA complaint [CHRO 1330326: Luciano v. Seymour].

I propose that the town should have responded positively … by offering to immediately begin patching broken sidewalks and patching curbcuts to make them ADA compliant “gentle slopes enabling PWDs to access street crossings to and from sidewalks.”

Regarding the NBC-TV investigative report on Seymour’s ADA compliance, First Selectman Miller was quoted as saying “it takes time.”

Really? ADA was signed into law in July 1990. Aren’t 23 years enough time for Mr. Miller and his predecessors (Bob Koskolowski, John O’Toole, Frank Conroy, Scott Koskolowski again, Paul Roy, and now Kurt Miller). Public Works has no human resources (employees) on the payroll to start patching as an interim step and show of good faith—not to mention show respect for its PWD citizens living and visiting downtown?

Res Ipsa Loquitur. Check out photos on public view showing broken sidewalks; broken curbcuts; curbcuts leading to ordinary curbs; cross walks leading to no curbcut; curbcuts with vertical drop-offs; broken crosswalks; sidewalks that end in dirt; “historic brick” sidewalks leading to nowhere; inaccessible downtown public shops; illegally parked cars obstructing the elderly trying to reach a (broken) curbcut; shopkeepers obstructing sidewalks with signage or merchandise; elderly forced to walk in streets; vehicles (even official town vehicles) illegally parked on or obstructing sidewalks; elderly trying to climb “historic” steps to enter historic shops that inexplicably have no hand rails for grabbing; vehicles parked on sidewalks; plantings overhanging (encroachment) sidewalks, forcing elderly and PWDs into streets; encroachments the Town ignored for a year after complaint; snow removal Town Ordinance (14-6) violations; and more.

The Main Street Investment Fund (MSIF) is wrong for Seymour’s Downtown and all other poorly livable communities 23 years after ADA’s enactment.

It “enables” only people with abilities to “stroll” downtown boutiques and other shops to window-shop and buy.

We persons with disabilities (PWDs) cannot “stroll;” for mobility we use canes, walkers, scooters, and wheelchairs.  We want to shop, and we can buy too. The 1840 Trestle Tavern knows that and is the only historic establishment that built a portable wooden ramp at the ready to welcome wheelchairs and everyone else to enjoy Seymour’s quality of life.

Twenty-three years after ADA, MSIF is inappropriate.  It excludes a class of people (PWDs) from contributing to economic development of an already depressed downtown. See for yourselves the rudely ludicrous sidewalk obstacles to mobility and the limited number of establishments (including Town Hall and the Post Office) that are ADA inaccessible. This fund is exclusionary. Seymour’s Public Works has failed to maintain downtown sidewalks and curbcuts, a fiscal negligence if not beyond deplorable — a preposterous insult to elderly and young with and without disabilities.

Continued exclusion will only motivate us to continue shopping the malls.

 

Joseph Luciano

Seymour

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  • JOSEPH LUCIANO

    Readers can view hundreds of my photos that show downtown Seymour’s sidewalks, curbcuts, streets, & crosswalks in deplorable condition at www.facebook.com/5FingersPianomanJoe?ref=tn_tnmn#!/media/set/?set=a.481049088606675.115628.100001047636306&type=3

  • Larry

    While your at it. I would like to know why Griffin Hospital doesn’t have electric scooters for the disabled. Like the rest of the hospitals in the surrounding areas. I realize they have wheel chairs and offer someone to push them. You also must wait for those people to come back and get you when your ready to leave. I have emphysema and feel that this infringes on my and others independence

    • 5FingersPianomanJoe

      That’s a great idea, Larry.

  • 5FingersPianomanJoe

    I plan to vote for the person running for Seymour’s first selectman office who has strong (and informed) initiative and interest in implementing ADA compliance in infrastructure with regard to Project Civic Access. The town has failed to enforce its own ordinances that mandate property owners to repair or replace sidewalks. This town desperately needs an informed (expert-level or certified) ADA coordinator who can inspect infrastructure, produce reports documenting his work as ADA coordinator, order public works or the state CONNDOT to make repairs to decrepit sidewalks/curbcuts, and invoke/enforce town ordinances which compel property owners to repair/replace sidewalks according to the now 23-year-old ADA standards.

  • 5FingersPianomanJoe

    Seymour has funds to repair or replace sidewalks and curbcuts in disrepair–but has yet to begin the work. I took the town engineer on tours three times to point out what needs to be repaired or constructed. Prediction: nothing will be done before snow begins.
    Seymour established an Advisory Committee on Livable Communities. The committee gave an “advisory” report (to make sidewalks ADA compliant) to Seymour that the first selectman requested. His office will not disclose when or whether the work will begin. Bureaucracy as usual, folks. In the meantime, we wheelchair people will just keep riding in the streets of “historic” downtown Seymour — and spending out of town or at malls (where everything is ADA.

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