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Snow Makes Getting Around Even Tougher For Those With Disabilities

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Navigating snowy sidewalks can be a challenge for anyone, let alone those facing disabilities.

Some are now asking for everyone to do a better job clearing now and making public walkways accessible. Bill Mancini may be in a wheelchair, but he normally doesn’t view himself as “trapped”.

At least not until he tries to head down his street to the store after weeks of snow.

“It’s difficult right now, it really is. Especially when all this snow is coming in a short amount of time,” says Mancini.

He’s President of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association and he uses a wheelchair. Mancini would like to see towns, businesses and even his neighbors take action.

“I think the best thing is that, if towns want to increase the access for people with disabilities, is to check on those busy intersections and those corners, because that’s sort of where the plows are pushing everything,” says Mancini.

Some sidewalk corners in West Hartford, for example, remain completely blocked, preventing all walkers or wheelchair users from crossing the street whatsoever.

“You can’t use the sidewalks and stuff, if you have feet of snow, you have no options at that point other than to just not use it,” says Arron Frankum.

Frankum is a disabled veteran and father of two, who uses a wheelchair.

“I mean what are you gonna’ do at this point? If you’ve got 50 feet of snow, I would think the cities and towns are doing the best they can,” says Frankum.

But across the state, some towns, private residences and stores still haven’t cleared the way.

Berman: “There’s the Americans with Disabilities Act right? Don’t towns legally have to keep the sidewalks clear?”

Frankum: “You would think, but I think the ADA is really a toothless law.”

Both Frankum, the former Navy Lieutenant, and Bill Mancini, believe it’s up to our neighbors and towns to come together and find a common-sense way to at least clear the main sidewalks and “cut-outs” that lead to main intersections.

“I know it’s costing money to get the guys out there but, everybody wants to be able to move around a little bit you know?” says Mancini.

For more information on the ADA laws visit this website:

http://www.freedomrc.org/2013/12/11/wrong-wednesday-americans-disabilities-act-ada-snow-removal-rules/

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