Bloomberg CityLab: Pandemic ‘Open Streets’ Remain Closed to People with Disabilities

June 30, 2021

Disability Justice, News

NYLPI Access-A-Ride Campaign Coordinator and Organizer Eman Rimawi spoke with a reporter from Bloomberg CityLab about the impacts of inaccessible outdoor dining. Rimawi, who has prosthetic legs and uses a walker, took the reporter through Midtown Manhattan, demonstrating the difficulties of navigating the city when someone has a disability. “I think if we can devise ways to utilize the space we have, we can make it work…. People forget that even though people are doing their own thing, we’re still a giant community. We just have to talk to each other.” 

Rimawi suggested that the City could “emphasize the potential revenue gains” associated with increasing accessibility, instead of leaning on punitive fines. She noted that while business owners claim making spaces accessible to people with disabilities is a costly endeavor, failing to create accessible spaces leads to decreased business. Disability advocates in the United Kingdom estimate that businesses there lose the equivalent of millions of dollars each month because they fail to make their spaces accessible to people with disabilities. 

Access the full interview here 

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