Also: Rent control gains steam in California, and the urbanist case for trailer parks.
What We’re Following
Happy birthday, ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 28 years ago today, and to understand its lasting importance, just look to the continued fights over accessible streets. New York City is facing a lawsuit that claims only 317 of the city’s 13,000 intersections are equipped with pedestrian signals that are accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired (Route Fifty). Also this year, Atlanta and Portland, Oregon, joined the ranks of cities facing legal battles from wheelchair users over busted sidewalks, highlighting the long way cities still have to go to make even these basic building blocks accessible to all their residents. (Portland settled its class action lawsuit to upgrade sidewalks in May.)
There’s been notable progress, too. As the American Planning Association pointed out in February, the metro rail systems in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., are designed for 100 percent wheelchair accessibility. The benefits of inclusive mobility go beyond fixing those immediate challenges—they also relate to poverty and jobs.
The Pew Charitable Trusts finds that American cities with high poverty rates tend to have higher rates of disabilities—the chart above shows the rates of people living with disabilities in the 10 largest U.S. cities. The Brookings Institution finds that only four out of 10 working-age adults with disabilities are employed. But that doesn’t have to be the case, as John Morris, who writes a wheelchair travel blog told the APA:
City planners often fail to recognize the true cost of accessibility barriers in transportation and movement. Just like our able-bodied counterparts, people with disabilities are on a schedule and have places to be: jobs, meetings, appointments, dinners, movies, concerts, sporting events, flights to catch, etc.
- Wheelchair Users Are More Likely to Be Killed in Traffic Than Other Pedestrians
- The Lawsuits Over NYC’s Subway Inaccessibility Are Long Overdue
- Google Gets Serious About Mapping Wheelchair Accessibility
More on CityLab
What We’re Reading
Do you live in a political bubble? Check this extremely detailed 2016 election map (New York Times)
Meet the Millennials who are moving to the suburbs (The Guardian)
The ascent of climbing gyms and the battle for post-industrial real estate (Curbed)
Mr. Rogers was my actual neighbor (Vox)
Mobility showdown: A Bird scooter vs. a Mercedes-Benz in Los Angeles (The Drive)