LCG’s Disabilities Awareness Committee concerns fall by the wayside

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The Lafayette Mayor-President’s Awareness Committee for Citizens with Disabilities met and voiced several concerns about accessibility on Monday.

The committee talked about the ongoing need for an extra early voting location to sidewalks that need repair in order to be more accessible to those with a disability. “We’re just complaining because it’s taking so long and the problems are so evident,” says Committee Chairman Nell Haan.

Hall talks about several issues in downtown Lafayette when it comes to accessibility.

Haan lists some of the concerns from broken street panels to a lack of curb-cuts at intersections.

She says there are even places where utility poles are in the middle of the sidewalk.

“There are places where a driveway might intersect a sidewalk. If you’re in a wheelchair, you’re going to be tipped-out of your wheelchair as you are trying to navigate that sidewalk,” adds Haan.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette student Jordan Aarstad uses a walker. Aarstad says she avoids downtown Lafayette as much as possible.

“You kind of just avoid the whole area. You’re like this is going to be more time consuming and a lot of effort than it’s worth,” she says.

Haan says LCG has done some improvements mainly along Main Street.

The committee says the city-parish council agrees with the findings and has the money to fix the issues.

The committee wants to know when.

“We know you can’t do it all at once even though the ADA was passed over 25 years ago. You’ve had plenty of time to work on it and piecemeal but let’s get started,” says Haan.

The committee is also hoping to get an official answer on getting an extra early voting site that’s accessible for someone with a disability.

Committee members say the elevator is too small and the line too narrow at the current location.

They say the only word the committee has received was to contact the Secretary of State’s Office. “I’m sure we are going to try to do that but at the same time, it’s the city-parish’s responsibility to provide the location. It can’t really be passed off to someone else,” explains Haan.

The committee intends to send a letter of concern to the city-parish council in hopes of at least getting help moving forward the voting location issue.

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