LETTER: Republican BET Members Delay ADA Improvement

Submitted by the Democratic members of the Board of Estimate and Taxation

On Monday night, Republican members on the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) blocked the improvement plan to address long-standing deficiencies for the disabled on Greenwich Avenue.  The improvements are necessary to meet current Federal regulations.  Importantly, these are required to be implemented before the Town can complete the resurfacing of the Avenue.   We, the 6 Democratic members of the BET, vigorously support the rights of all our residents to enjoy the amenities of our community, including Greenwich Avenue, and strongly denounce the position taken by the other members of the BET to ignore the daily challenges of those with disabilities.

Former President and native son George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, to improve access to public spaces for the millions of Americans with disabilities. It “will ensure that people with disabilities are given the basic guarantees for which they have worked so long and hard,” he said. “Independence, freedom of choice, control of their lives, the opportunity to blend fully and equally into the rich mosaic of the American mainstream.”

Over thirty years later, Greenwich is still playing catch up with both the intent and the letter of the legislation. The BET should not derail this project based on personal opinions; some of which were the mention of high heels slipping on sloped ramps, the prime locations of the handicap parking spaces, and possible confusion for drivers.  The plan was developed by the Town’s engineers and town planners doing what we pay them to do – use their professional expertise to address problems and mandated requirements.

Most importantly, we have a community responsibility to live up to the spirit of the ADA which requires that public rights of way are fully accessible to all and to do it in a way that enhances our beautiful community.

There have been recent discussions about honoring President George H.W. Bush with a statue on Greenwich Avenue. There is no better way to memorialize his legacy than to make Greenwich Avenue accessible to all. We invite you to email our Republican colleagues on the BET and tell them you feel the same way.

Elliot Alcheck
Matt DesChamps
Scott Kalb
Leslie Moriarty
Steve Selbst
David Weisbrod