From General Manager Wes Kooistra
Thirty years ago this week, the federal government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act – landmark civil rights legislation aimed at ensuring people with disabilities do not face discrimination or barriers to participation.
This legislation has been especially impactful in the transit industry, which has a responsibility to help people of all abilities stay connected to their community.
At Metro Transit, we are committed not just to meeting the letter of the law but to making accessibility a cornerstone of everything we do. While there’s always more that can be done, progress has been made.
Our Engineering & Facilities Department has led conversations with local partners who share the responsibility to keep sidewalks and boarding areas clear over the winter. Shelters and bus stops have been improved across the region. And equipment in our newest METRO C Line buses allows customers using mobility devices to easily and safely secure themselves.
Looking ahead, planned improvements to transit centers in Brooklyn Center, Robbinsdale and at the Northtown Mall will make each of these facilities more inviting and easier for all to use. We are also eager to expand our light rail and Bus Rapid Transit services – investments that are being made with more and earlier input from riders with disabilities.
An independent assessment that looked at more than 200 of our facilities identified thousands of additional improvements that could be made in the years ahead, many of them small changes that will collectively have a big impact.
While accessibility work is often focused on the built environment, our work does not end there.
We are improving our website so it can be easily navigated by blind or low-vision customers, reviewing policies and procedures and raising awareness among managers and supervisors as part of a broader effort to make accessibility a priority in all our work.
This work has always been important. But it is even more essential now, as we adapt to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moving forward, we will continue to be guided by the underlying principles that led to the ADA’s creation. From all of us at Metro Transit, thank you for the opportunity to serve. We look forward to building on the work of the past 30 years.
Council moving ahead with wide-ranging accessibility improvements
ADA and accessibility at Metro Transit