In September, Charlotte, North Carolina will play host to the 2012 Democratic National Convention with an estimated 35,000 visitors in attendance. With planning well underway, disability advocates are now cautioning officials about the lack of accessibility available to those with limited mobility. Starting with the fleet of wheelchair accessible cabs serving area airports and hotels (which total a mere 4), advocates are highlighting serious areas of concern that also include shuttle services, inaccessible bus stops and basic ADA compliance at event locations.
“Our city’s going to be under a microscope, and I’m not so sure what that’s going to look like,” said Julia Sain, executive director of Disability Rights and Resources, Fighting for Justice, Advancing Independence.
Becky Ogle, who works for the DNC Committee, explains that while they have brought on a consultant to assist with identifying areas for improvement, they are only about 25% complete in their review.
In light of the advocates’ vocal concern, Charlotte city leaders did release a statement which reads, “The City of Charlotte is working closely with the DNC Committee and the DNC Host Committee to ensure that events are ADA compliant. From an operations standpoint, the temporary transit center will be fully accessible including stops, waiting areas, customer service and public restrooms. Additionally, the City has hired a consultant to improve and enhance accessibility. In working with the consultant, we have been able to make some initial steps to start those improvements, but we are waiting for the full report.”
The DNC is set for September 3-6, 2012. For more information, visit: http://charlottein2012.com