Disability Pride Parade celebrates five years

Marchers from Achilles International participate in the parade. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Disability Pride Parade celebrated five years this past Sunday, with participants marching from Madison Square to Union Square on Broadway. The parade featured members of the disability community, as well as activists and advocates, marching in costume and decorated wheelchairs.

Jazz pianist Mike LeDonne created Disability Pride Day in 2012 in honor of his daughter, Mary, who has a rare syndrome called Prader-Willi. LeDonne ran Disability Pride NYC as a nonprofit for four years before organizing the first parade on July 12, 2015, the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The parade on Sunday culminated in a festival in Union Square with booths featuring representatives from local non-profits and various city agencies offering services to New Yorkers with disabilities. Representatives from the Department of Transportation were showcasing the agency’s newest program, which is surveying the city’s pedestrian ramps and corners and mid-block crossings and pedestrian islands. The agency is prioritizing the completion of pedestrian ramp installations and upgrades pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Bike lane coming to FDR service road

The bike lane outside of Waterside Plaza (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Department of Transportation will begin implementing safety improvements on the FDR Service Road that include a two-way bike lane between East 25th and 33rd Street this month. The improvements specifically address the Greenway along Waterside Plaza, the Water Club at East 30th Street and the East 34th Street intersection near the heliport.

The DOT made the announcement about the project on Twitter last Thursday, although the plan was originally presented to Community Board 6 two and a half years ago in November 2016. The DOT had also announced plans last September to start implementation of the project in the fall but later said in November that it would be pushed back to this summer.

A spokesperson told Town & Village that the then-two-year delay was not unusual, given that the project was especially “complex” and the agency was still working out construction scheduling and the final designs. The DOT also attributed some of the delay to changes in the plan to the design around the Water Club.

Manhattan DOT Community Coordinator Colleen Chattergoon told members of Community Board 6 last fall that the Water Club didn’t want bike traffic directly in front of their entrance, so the design was adjusted to include granite planters and a Jersey barrier as buffers. The restaurant also agreed to relocate a large container currently in their parking lot so that the DOT could more easily implement the bike lane changes.

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