Disability advocates from local groups including The Ability Center, The Fair Housing Center, Toledo Lucas County Commission on Disabilities, and Community Advocates for Transportation Rights (CATR) came together for a press conference to announce a new TARTA bus stop located near Charming Charlie at Franklin Park Mall on August 20.
This achievement is a culmination of several years of grassroots advocacy efforts to improve accessibility for people living with disabilities. TARTA’s curbside service became effective on Sunday, August 19.
“The bus stop demonstrates what we can do when people with disabilities and businesses in our community work together to make our spaces more accessible. Congratulations to the Toledo Lucas County Commission on Disabilities, CATR, and Franklin Park Mall on taking one more step towards a fully accessible and inclusive Toledo,” shares Katherine Hunt Thomas, Disability Rights Lawyer, The Ability Center.
The route will run every 30 minutes with curbside line service accessible to passengers near the southwest entrance of the mall near Macy’s and Charming Charlie. The Franklin Park Mall stop can be utilized via route 3 on weekdays and route 22 on weekends. View the complete list of TARTA routes here.
“As our aging and disability populations continue to grow, our community has a responsibility to provide housing and public spaces that are welcoming and accessible for all,” stated Christina Rodriguez, Staff Attorney at The Fair Housing Center.
With the added bus stop, patrons will now have a direct walking path to the entrance of the building, providing individuals with mobility disabilities safer access.
“On behalf of the Commission, we would like to give many thanks to Franklin Park Mall and TARTA that now all people have access to the mall. Until this new stop, many people with disabilities were unable to attend movies, events, meet friends for dinner, or go shopping at Franklin Park Mall,” shares Angie Goodnight from the Toledo Lucas County Commission on Disabilities.
Stephen Atkinson, Director Marketing for TARTA, explains, “TARTA service improvements were made possible through the cooperation of The Ability Center and Franklin Park Mall management so passengers may better access the retail center for shopping, employment, and entertainment opportunities.”
Organizers hope this addition will set the tone for other businesses and entities to ensure their property is accessible to everyone. “It will be tremendously helpful to people with disabilities who cannot walk long distances, use wheelchairs, or other mobility aides. It will also help senior citizens and families with small children board the bus more safely,” says Jo Rita Fox, a member of Community Advocates for Transportation Rights.
About The Ability Center: The Ability Center is a non-profit Center for Independent Living (CIL) serving northwest Ohio. The Ability Center believes in and supports equitable and inclusive communities for people living with disabilities. Our mission is to assist people with disabilities to live, work, and socialize within a fully accessible community. The Ability Center serves the seven counties of Lucas, Ottawa, Wood, Fulton, Henry, Defiance, and Williams.
The Fair Housing Center:
The Fair Housing Center will be a leading visible force in preventing and correcting discriminatory practices.
The Fair Housing Center is a non-profit civil rights agency dedicated to the elimination of housing discrimination, the promotion of housing choice and the creation of inclusive communities of opportunity. To achieve our mission, the center engages in education and outreach, housing counseling, advocacy for anti-discriminatory housing policies, research and investigation, and enforcement actions.
The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY SPECIALISTS, NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING ALLIANCE OPERATING MEMBER
Community Advocates for Transportation Rights (CATR): CATR is a grassroots group whose mission is to increase awareness of public transit opportunities and recruit involvement of communities to ensure transportation needs are met for all.
Toledo Lucas County Commission on Disabilities: The membership of the Toledo/ Lucas Commission on Disabilities (TLCCOD) is made up of 21 individuals (11 appointed by the City of Toledo and 10 appointed by Lucas County) who represent various aspects of the local disability community. Some of these individuals represent organizations which provide services to the disability community such as The Ability Center, The Fair Housing Center, Lucas County Board of DD, the University of Toledo Disability Studies Program, among others. Additional members of the Commission are citizens living with disabilities themselves or immediate family members of citizens with disabilities.
Our primary purpose is to serve in an advisory capacity to the Lucas County Commissioners, the Mayor of the City of Toledo, and the City Council directly on issues relating to the needs, problems, and other concerns of people with disabilities.