FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #15 -079
July 15, 2015
Scott Gastel/Gloria Chin/Jose Bayona (212) 839-4850
NYC DOT, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Taxi and Limousine Commission, MTA Bus Company, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and Other City Officials Celebrate Access to Independence Day
The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was joined today by Commissioner Victor Calise of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), Commissioner Meera Joshi of the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, accessibility advocates, and others at the 3rd Annual Access to Independence Day: A Transportation Expo event, and to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Access to Independence is an accessible transportation expo to educate the community about various accessible transportation options available in the city.
“As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act, the de Blasio Administration is committed to ensuring that every New Yorker has the same access to jobs, education and independence,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Today’s event is a great opportunity for city agencies and our partner organizations to share the variety of accessible transportation options throughout New York City with the public we all serve daily.”
“Access to transportation is critical for people with disabilities. Accessible transportation options provides New Yorkers with disability access to independence and equal access to all that the city has to offer. People with disabilities need to be aware and understand the options they have available to help maintain their independence and quality of life,” said Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Victor Calise.
“With our accessible dispatch system in line to become a citywide service for the first time ever, and our phase-in of accessible taxis starting on January 1, 2016 and culminating in a 50% accessible taxi fleet by 2020, this is a truly historic time for accessible transportation in New York City as the list of options available to persons with disabilities grows, barriers fall, and our city is stronger for it,” said TLC Commissioner and Chair Meera Joshi. “It is very appropriate that we are here today, so soon after celebrating our nation’s independence, that we celebrate the importance of independence for people with disabilities, and rededicate ourselves to enhancing that independence.”
“When NYC Transit assumed responsibility for Access-a-ride there were only 92 vehicles in the fleet, now we have more than 2,000 vehicles, making our Paratransit service the largest in the nation. We currently provide service to 136,802 Access-a-Ride registrants, and on an average weekday there are approximately 126,000 trip requests. In addition, 100% of our fixed route bus fleet is accessible. We continue to dedicate our efforts to enhance the independence of people with disabilities,” said Darryl Irick, Senior Vice President, NYCT Department of Buses and President, MTA Bus Company.
“Events like Access to Independence are vital because they connect our government directly to the communities it serves,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “When our accessibility professionals meet and share information directly with disability advocates in an expo format like this one, they get crucial information and insights that help them serve both the disabled community and all New Yorkers.”
“This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the landmark legislation, the Americans with Disabilities Act, which has had such tremendous impact on disabled Americans. As the Chair of the New York City Council Transportation Committee increasing accessibility throughout our transportation system has been a priority for me,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Though we have a long way to go, our city has made great strides since 1990. Thanks to the leadership and strength of the advocates in the disabled community, I have no doubt that our city will only continue to move forward.”
Access to Independence Day: A Transportation Expo brings together dozens of exhibitors, including MTA NYCT Office of ADA Compliance, MTA Access-A-Ride, MTA Mobile Sales Unit, New York Metropolitan Council, NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, 511NY, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), Port Authority Trans Hudson Corporation (PATH), AARP New York, Guide Dog Foundation, Independence Care System, NYC Department of Education Office of Travel Training, NYC Department of Education Office for Pupil Transportation (OPT); NYC Emergency Management; UberWAV, AxsMaps, Big Apple Greeter, Bussani Mobility, DV Luxury Transportation Group, FR Conversions, HAI Omni*Bus Program, Independence Care System, InTandem, Lighthouse Guild International, LinkNYC, Mobility Ventures, PASS Coalition, and YAI Network.
Thirteen of DOT’s units and initiatives were exhibited at the Access to Independence expo: Mobility Management, Language Access, Accessible Pedestrian Signals, Sidewalk Management, Parking Permits, Staten Island Ferry, Select Bus Service, Safe Routes to Transit, CityBench Program, Pedestrian Projects Group, Office of Safety and Education Outreach, WalkNYC, and IT & Telecom. The expo allowed attendees to ask questions about the programs and vehicles and made them more familiar with various transportation options.
In the last year, NYC DOT hired three new positions to create an Accessible Pedestrian Signals unit in its signals division, began capturing pedestrian ramps around safety improvement project areas, began designing raised crosswalks in capital projects, hired an accessibility and technology wayfinding consultant, set out to make new real-time bus information poles audible, and started working with NYPD to ensure both agencies capture data on pedestrians with disabilities involved in injuries.
Also, in May of this year DOT published the Mobility Management Resource Guide, a one-stop-shop of information on transportation programs and services in NYC for people with disabilities and older adults. It is the first guide produced by DOT’s Mobility Management Team and features DOT’s programs and services for people with disabilities as well as others in the region – MTA, NJ Transit, NICE Bus – and various City agencies. The guide is available on DOTmobility.nyc and users can request a print version by calling 311.
Attendees of the expo were allowed to demonstrate the accessible components to their transportation programs. These accessibility options and programs allow for all New Yorkers to move around the five boroughs safely.
For more information about DOT’s transportation accessibility programs, please visit www.nyc.gov/dot.