Macon-Bibb works to improve handicap access | News
Tuesday, Macon-Bibb's commission adopted an Americans with Disabilities Transition Plan to comply with the 1990 law.
The transition plan aims to identify and address problems with accessibility in public places within the county.
But those with disabilities in Macon-Bibb say the county can do more to make public buildings more handicap-friendly.
"I should have been able to come off my ramp totally and turn to the right or left," Andreena Patton said.
Instead, she had to wheel herself off one side of the ramp to avoid hitting the curb.
But overcoming obstacles is something Patton is used to after 20 years in a wheelchair.
Still, she says Macon-Bibb has more work to do to accommodate those with disabilities.
"I can reach [the sink], but I cannot reach [the soap] or [the towels]," Patton demonstrated at the handicap-accessible bathroom in Macon-Bibb's government center.
The ADA law says soap and towel dispensers should be about 44-48 inches off of the ground.
The ones Patton couldn't reach at the government center measured about 55 inches above the ground.
Those are the kinds of issues Macon-Bibb is trying to identify and address, says county compliance officer, Doron Dvorak.
"We have to go into every county building we have, identify those that have a public benefit, and then determine what we can do to make them more publicly accessible by those who are handicapped or other individuals in general," Dvorak said.
Next week, he'll begin to inspect the nearly 170 county buildings, looking at things like the number of handicapped parking spaces, the width of hallways, functioning switches for automatic doors and elevators.
"The guidelines basically say, 'Here's the bare minimum.' It doesn't mean that we can't do better and that's what our transition plan will do, take one step beyond what the guidelines say to do and see what we can do better," Dvorak said.
And they can do better, Patton says, especially by including those affected in the conversation.
"I'd like to see people with disabilities not be so much of an afterthought but more at the forefront and help make those decisions," she said.
If you'd like to make a complaint about accessibility at county buildings, it should be filed in writing to:
700 Poplar Street
Macon, GA 31201
Include your name, address and briefly describe your concern.