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.