The latest ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ was unveiled in New York City last night to much fanfare, although it left many with a distinct feeling of déjà vu, and not without cause. It’s because the Mayor and Nissan have already revealed their so-called ‘taxi of tomorrow’, on November 1st last year–you didn’t imagine it, it really happened.
If they revealed this ‘taxi of tomorrow’ already, why did they re-reveal it last night? Confused? You’re not the only one.
A stay pending an appeal was granted to the City of New York yesterday, regarding the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) v. the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) case.
As reported by AXS Map in February, the City appealed Judge Daniels December decision in favor of the DRA (citing that the lower court overreached it’s power). The decision mandated that the TLC provide a plan that included “meaningful access” to those with mobility disabilities, and came hours after the Mayor and Governor agreed on a new outer-borough taxi plan.
It’s yellow, has four wheels and is now creating the same level of headaches for Mayor Bloomberg has it has done for those with mobility disabilities for many years; yes, its the New York City taxi.
Yesterday the Cities bullheaded plan, to go ahead with their second taxi dispatch system for those with disabilities, was rejected by Comptroller John Liu. The City submitted the contract with a company called Metro Taxi, despite their previous disability dispatch service being a unmitigated failure.
Over the weekend the New York Times ran a great piece by Ben Mattlin, author of the book Miracle Boy Grows Up: How the Disability Rights Revolution Saved My Sanity, in the article Mr. Mattlin discloses how people often mistake him for someone else, who often (apart from being in a wheelchair) look completely different than him. “What’s really funny is when people don’t take no for an answer. “Oh, come on. You are that guy! Or at least you know him, right?”” wrote Mr. Mattlin.
In a separate story, posted on the Washington Post’s website on Saturday, Jay Mathews reported on how teachers in Heather Hills Elementary School had refused to check a girl with ADHD’s bag before she left for home. Under Section 504 of the federal laws, schools should assign a teacher to check a child with ADHD’s backpack before she leaves the school, making sure she all her materials for homework.
A lot has been written the last few days–in light of Invisible Children’s viral video–of the internet, and it’s power to send a message to a enormous amount of people, instantly.
It is worth remembering that this ability to join, form groups, and make connections of support, is something those with rare diseases and disabilities have known and utilized for a long time. A Pew Study last year confirmed this, it found that those with rare diseases are leading the pack when it comes to internet usage.
“Peer-to-peer health care is a national trend for the worried well, for people with acute illness, and for those living with chronic conditions,” said Pew researcher Susannah Fox, “but the people living with rare disease take it to the next level.”
AXS Map founder Jason DaSilva found out from Eva Markvoort in 2009–when he interviewed her before her sad death–how helpful connecting with people online was for her, during her battle with cystic fibrosis. You can view Jason’s interview with Eva below.
In this five-minute video clip, released today by 501c3 nonprofit AXS Lab, Jason DaSilva investigates how a stubborn New York City administration has put the City’s 2013 budget at risk, and in turn kept taxicabs inaccessible to those with mobility disabilities.
Last December Judge Daniels, of the Southern District of New York, ruled that New York City’s planned increase of cabs was in violation of the American’s with Disabilities Act. The Judge mandated that the City submit a long term-plan for wheelchair accessibility, before they move forward, on the planned 18,000 sale of new medallion cabs.
The Bloomberg administration however, feels that their compromise with Albany and Mayor Coumo—to make 20 percent of the 18,000 new cabs accessible—suffices enough to negate the need for a new plan. According to WNYC Lawyers for the City appeared in court yesterday appealing the need for a new plan.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has set aside $24.7 million for the Division of Developmental Disabilities, in his proposed 2013 budget, to help the living standards of individuals with developmental disabilities. Under his new plans, Mayor Christie will give children with disabilities their own service division; Division of Child Integrated Systems of Care Services.
Previously, the some 16,000 children in New Jersey with physical and intellectual disabilities came under the umbrella Division of Developmental Disabilities—and not differentiating between child and adult.
This past Saturday we had our first mapping meet-up. Alice and I worked with the Stanford alumni Volunteer Network here in New York. We had close to 15 participants work within a 30 city-block radius in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to begin the data collection of accessibility.
The volunteers were absolutely amazing, coming from different backgrounds. One person was an engineer, another was an architect, another works for Google. They all took the task at hand seriously and with a discretionary eye.
I could imagine this being done on a regular basis in different parts of the city, so that the database emerges – allowing us to track accessibility by a user generated data set.
We looked at the entrance ways of places, for example, what businesses had a ramp or or street level. They get included into the database. Places that have a step or two to get in to not get included in the database. It’s as simple as that.
On another note, I definitely want to send thanks to this website…
My reality is I wake up to the door and knock the home health aide. My wife Alice goes to the door, let them inside, and I slowly wake up to spend another day trapped inside my body. There is no way to alleviate way that primary progressive multiple sclerosis has affected me. It came on just as a swaggered walk, a slow walk up and down stairs, but slowly and steadily became what it is. In just five years I went from walking without any support to walking with a cane, then to walker, then to a wheelchair, and now I use a power scooter.
Not to mention these days I’m having trouble with my hands – it’s getting harder and harder to type, even feeding myself is becoming a challenge.
And how could I forget mentioning my vision which is slowly but surely corroding. I’m not sure if I’ll be legally blind at some point, but for now these are just blurry and
Okay, now that we have my physical situation out of the way, let’s discuss what’s going on in my head these days:
I spend a lot of time in the house. That’s an understatement. When I do go outside, I love it. As the spring breaks into summer, there is no better place to be out and about. For the times that I am outside, I enjoy it so much. I am trying to devise a way that people like me can get out easier and that the challenges that face them out in the world are not so difficult.