Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan and Council Member Jon Snyder will observe International Day of Persons with Disabilities from wheelchairs tomorrow, Dec. 3.

The exercise, sponsored by the Spokane Human Rights Commission, is designed to bring awareness to persons with disabilities and provide elected officials with greater understanding. The two Council Members will spend the morning at City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., in wheelchairs, then discuss their experiences at 11 a.m.

The goal is to increase the understanding of the issues around disabilities and focus on the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. So what’s that have to do with transportation? A lot.

A lovely lady named Jenny with Lou Gehrig’s disease came to a SRTC Board meeting a couple years ago and told us of her challenges getting around. It’s hard for her to push the button to signal she wants to cross the street because many of the buttons are placed on poles inside of decorative rock beds or in grassy areas that her power chair can’t navigate. There are also many narrow sidewalks around town and sidewalks with poles and signs in the middle of them that folks in chairs can’t navigate around. Getting on and off the bus is often difficult because bus stops aren’t built to accomodate wheelchairs and weather like this makes it almost difficult to operate a chair. In fact, here’s a piece from KXLY news on how weather conditions is making getting around very difficult for one disabled man.

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