Barrier Busters Do A Downtown Walkabout
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 18, 2004
ANACORTES, WASHINGTON--Now this is citizen activism at its best.
Just two months ago, a group of concerned citizens formed the city's "Barrier Busters Committee". The group wants to make Anacortes more accessible to everyone, according to the Anacortes American.
And earlier this month, they already put their name to the test and their message, literally, to the streets.
On October 7, members of the committee went door-to-door in downtown Anacortes, introducing themselves to business owners, chatting about accessibility concerns, and educating them on how they can make their buildings more accessible -- often at little or no cost.
It's not just people with disabilities who benefit from accessible places of business, they pointed out. Those businesses also benefit, not only because 18 percent of Anacortes population of 14,500 has a disability, but also because, well, bad news gets around.
"These numbers are synergetic," Barrier Busters co-chair Carlo Magno told the American. "You have husbands, wives, family members, caregivers -- you have a whole household that's not going to do business there."
Bob Hyde, Anacortes Public Works Director, went on the October 7 tour. He spent part of his day trying to negotiate downtown in a wheelchair.
"That was humbling to be in the wheelchair, especially among traffic," Hyde said. "It was scary. I felt diminished."
"Barrier Busters are out to open more doors for everyone" (Anacortes American)
"Barrier Busters: Group says accessibility to businesses a matter of dollars and sense" (Anacortes American)
"Committee working to improve access to businesses, offices and city buildings and parks" (Anacortes American -- September 29, 2004)