Easthampton commission launches accessibility survey

  • Easthampton Municipal Building GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/12/2021 10:43:43 AM

EASTHAMPTON — The Commission on Disability is seeking feedback from community members with disabilities on how to make the city more accessible.

A new survey will help the commission determine how to improve the city’s resources “not just from a compliance standpoint, but from an inclusivity standpoint earlier on,” said Kelsey Hall, the commission’s recording clerk/secretary.

“We’re really trying to better understand how the disabled people in our community perceive Easthampton,” Hall said, “to find from their perspective what barriers exist, what things are going well, what resources are available, how often they use them or don’t.”

In addition to helping the commission identify barriers, the survey responses also will provide the group with the data it needs to request funding from the state to enact needed changes.

Some of the issues that people with disabilities experience in the city are common to many locations, according to Hall: stretches of street that lack sidewalks, uneven ground or steep grades, and crosswalks that lack flashing lights. 

Other issues are less tangible, like a need for greater community education and awareness, Hall said.

“It’s a barrier that our community isn’t having more conversations about disability and exclusion,” she added.

On the digital side, a lack of subtitles in recorded meetings and a community website layout that does not work well with screen readers are also issues, according to Hall.

The survey is anonymous and can also be completed by a care provider on behalf of someone with a disability.

The Commission on Disability will analyze the data and publish a report to be shared online, with the City Council and public sector service providers.

The survey is available online at bit.ly/3dZxBak until Oct. 15.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.


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