Road Access for Disabled Americans

Date: 6-04-98
To: Whom it May Concern
Copy: City of Austin Public Works and Transportation
Transportation Division
Subject: Bouldin Creek Neighborhood-Traffic Calming Pilot Project Area

Introduction to the Author

In regards to Bouldin Creek Neighborhood-Traffic Calming Pilot Project Area

1: Speed humps cause pain and suffering.

On Thursday, August 10, 1995, the Austin American Statesman printed a letter of protest from myself and my neighbor, Homer Cabello, in regards to the 6 Woodland speed humps. We are not alone in our discontent, and physical pain due to these "torture devices." Both Mr. Cabello and I have documented degenerative spinal disabilities and are on full SSDI services. Those "humps" cause us pain and cause us to suffer. Spinal injuries and the problems related to them are common. Austin, as the "hub" of all State MHMR services, has the highest disabled population in Texas and the greater Southwest United States. Bumping up and down over your department's "torture devices" is detrimental to anyone with a chronic hip, back, or neck disability.

Listen up, and be advised. Lateral G forces like those encountered in turning or swerving around objects (torture devices) also creates unnecessary and cruel pain to the person with the aforementioned disabilities. Likewise, this occurs when accident victims are transported in EMS vehicles. Likewise, the Special Ed children that transverse these "torture devices" in AISD wheelchair busses. Many of those severely mental and physically disabled infants and children with multiple disabilities can barely hold their own while strapped in those wheelchairs. Add the ongoing surgeries that many of them are just recovering from, plus add the weak muscles strength that many of the very young disabled kids have and you can get a picture that is not very pretty.

I can excuse your lack of insight on these problems up till now, even though it looks likes the P.W./Transportation Dept. purposefully limited valid input from many residents in the project area - residents with insights and knowledge you do not have access to. Be advised you are no longer uninformed. Your lack of communication with all residents of this plan, not allowing all effected residents input into the planning process is decidedly wrong, if not illegal. (I will have to check.) Was this a simple questionable mistake? Is there some motive behind not informing residents of this project, Or was it purposeful, benign indifference?

2: Why weren't we informed?

Sept. of 1997, over ten months ago, this project got its start in a City Council meeting. Why were the residents in this "project area" not informed of this action?

3: I speak for myself.

The Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association does not speak for me, I am not a member of that org.

4: Disabled access problems need to be included in "working group" topics.

Why, in October of 1997, were residents of the project area with publicly known, valid, protests of these city sponsored, street installed, neighborhood "torture devices" excluded from the "working group" from which this plan was developed?

5: You cannot "vote" against disabled access.

Why is the "voting area" for this Traffic Calming Project limited to such a small residential area when, in fact, your dept. knows that the residents directly South of Oltorf are trapped against the rail road tracks and also use the routes that these torture devices could be installed on? Your dept. knows that the bus route #16 and the people from those neighborhoods (and housing projects) use those streets. You even considered re-routing S. 5th at Oltorf so that residents trying to travel north on S. 5th to Dawson would have no access to South 5th at Oltorf.

6: Access is an Americans with Disabilities Act issue.

Due to the above, I feel I have no recourse to this "rail roading" styled Calming Project, except that of litigation (if possible), should the "limited vote" on this project pass.

I wonder if the American Disabilities Act could be applied to this situation. If the Mayor of Austin does not have physical impediments installed on the streets that he drives on or lives near, that cause him to reroute to streets with higher traffic volume and accident rates, i.e...a forced more dangerous route... and, if the Mayor does not face physical pain in his quality of life due to arbitrary torture devices installed on the street in front of his house and all over his neighborhood....why should I, a disabled person be forced to traverse these imposed impediments, and risks?

Best regards,

©Rick Hall, 6-04-98
808 West Mary
Austin, TX 78704

Access | Fire & EMS | Engineering
Introduction to Author