The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on August 2, 1992 · 19
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 19

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Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 2, 1992
Page:
19
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THE BOSTON SUNDAY GLOBE AUGUST 2, 1992 Advocates push for train access ACCESS Continued from Page 1 run to the suburbs have only one or two accessible stops. While the passage of the federal 1 Americans With Disabilities Act in ; January requires that all forms of public transportation become handicapped accessible by 1995, Mass- achusetts has had strict accessibility 'laws on the books since the early J 1970s. ' Under those laws, the West Na-', tick station should have been built as ' an accessible train stop, but, accord-l ing to MBTA communications direc-I'tor Peter Dimond, it probably was Knot because of "budgetary short-t .falls" at the time. V, Antonucci, who was stricken with ' multiple sclerosis seven years ago and began using a motorized wheel-' chair two years later, said she and ' other advocates regularly com-r plained to the MBTA about the West ' Natick stop. ', Angered, Antonucci filed a com-; plaint in 1990 with the state Archi-; tectural Access Board, a facilities watchdog group with judicial muscle, requesting its assistance in forcing the T to do what she said they should have done in 1978 when the West Natick station (the newest on ; the Framingham line) was built: Construct ramps leading to the ;coaches. The access board subsequently ruled that the T should complete the ramps by June, 1992, but the T requested and was granted an extension of the project deadline to May 1993. That decision has further ag-- grieved advocates for the disabled in .. towns along the Framingham line . (which includes Newton, Wellesley, , Natick and Framingham), who are also upset that the T recently ex- tended commuter rail service on the 'Seeing the trains go by with the wheelchair emblem on them, and then not being able to get on, is a slap in the face and there are a lot of angry people fed up with the T.' BOB DONAHUE line to Saturdays and Sundays before making stations accessible. Antonucci and others will appeal the extension and air their protests at a hearing before officials of the MBTA and the access board in Boston on Sept 14. "We're going to tell them that we're not prepared to go without access any longer and that we want the station made accessible by December 1992," said Dennis Polselli, president of the Greater Framingham Association of Individuals with Disabilities. "We have worked within the system in good faith for long enough and now we feel that if the extension is still allowed after this hearing, we'll just have to exercise our legal options otherwise." Polselli, who advocates for disabled people from Newton to Framingham, said his organization is working with the Disability Law Center in Boston to examine legal avenues to push the T into making West Natick accessible sooner. To Bob Donahue, chairman of the Natick Commission for the Disabled, and a member of the MBTA if Mr ri 'W i J& 3U!ilffj,r7 v 4 ', , : 11 wf ri . -Jl i"f liaSi , f K ' 'V-K. -isil GLOBE STAFF PHOTO JOANNE RATHE Although commuter rail cars are equipped to handle wheelchairs, Kristin Antonucci says stations should provide direct access to the car. advisory committee on accessiblity, the issue of accessibility on the Framingham line boils down to simple logistics and fairness. "Look, if I want to go to Boston at the spur of the moment, I can't unless I drive or get a ride or book in advance with The Ride," said Donahue. The Ride is a supplemental transportation system sponsored by the T that provides disabled persons in 44 communities a ride by bus, specially equipped vans or cars into Boston or to accessible train stops. Donahue, Polselli and Antonucci agreed that The Ride is helpful, but trips must be booked well in advance, leaving little room for spur-of- HAVIRMIU BRADFORD OARONEN FITCHBURG NORTH LEOMINSTER SHIRLEY AVER LITTLETON 4M SOUTH ACTON ..TU . , rn.rTi U ANOOVER CX U BALLARDVALE . I j NOHTH WILMINGTON T.T r3 READING WtSI bUHtUHU " mm mm CONCORD H WILMINGTON O WAKEFIELD I IWCOU. MMISHAWUM q GREENWOOD I SILVER HILL. H WINCHESTER Q MELROSE HIGHLANDS I W CENTER .. MtX' nASMNUS k n Bu-nuac- pj m g ncccu X V U "tuutucm CEDAH HARK w--r M.unr,conCOTs'H. mm WEST MEDFORO LJ WYOMINQ HILL 1KJ WALTHAM I fi WAVERLEY III BELMONT CENTERa"jJjjk II PORTEII SQUARE fcOBW ol A NEWTONV.LLE VAJvS i X OUTH STATION WESTNEWTONH H-"H T AUBURNDALE JO.TO Jjf I"" DUAU!X mW Cl.vIt.l,ni!.)B2iST I CORNER V caaMaammaaaaaaaa9mamAum " FOREST I 'X. mr mviaum im Jkm iy mills PM unamu I X. rWm ?Tr Jr BELLbVUe wmmr- f jmmr f HIGHLAND. gFAHUMT S .. 0 IPSWICH H HAMILTON WENHAM H NORTH BEVERLY Al., XHsLOUCESTER WEST GLOUCESTER MANU1B9 1 CH everly farms PRIDES CROSSING malbencintu .0 mmr BEVERLY DEPOT SALEM SWAMPSCOTT WELLESLEY FARMS WELLESLEY HILLS WELLESLEY SQUARE NATICK WEST NATICK FRAMINGHAM ISJ' PARK HIGHLAND JOT WEST ROXBURY READVILLE.0r HERSEY ENDICOTTn ROUTE 12S NEEDHAM JUNCTION DEOHAM COHP fSf TK CANTON JUNCTION Ik'-J ISLINGTON MAf rAMTHM rpNTPR NEEDHAM CENTER DHAM HEIGHTS & iir. FRANKUN yTT FORGE PARK 495 " NORWOOD DEPOT NORWOOD CENTRAL Ql WINDSOR GARDENS PLIMPTONVILLE WALPOLE NORFOLK 3ARDENSTr ILLE MANSFIELD -5 ATTLEBORO Q SOUTH ATTLEBORO H PROVIDENCE 3 RAPID TRANSIT LINES I COMMUTER RAIL LINES Q WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE STATION WHEELCHAIR ACCESS BEING CONSTRUCTED MBTA map shows commuter rail stations described as handicapped accessible. accois ...Come see what's new this week! 25 OFF our Dedham Pottery ; wm r - - t A iJL TO For showers, weddings, anniversaries, or just yourself... Our entire stock of Dedham Pottery Is 25 OFF, In stock items only, thru September 5th. Come early for best selection! accents 82 Chapel Street, Needham 444-1729 HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 8:30-5:30 - Sat. 8:30-2 p.m. the moment forays into Boston. "This whole issue is about fairness and equity and providing access to all people," Donahue said. "I have not been on a train since my disability put me on crutches and in a wheelchair, and I used to use it a lot. Seeing the trains go by with the wheelchair emblem on them, and then not being able to get on, is a slap in the face and there are a lot of angry people fed up with the T who will be at that hearing in force - if they can get there." Dimond said that the T should be lauded for its efforts in making the system accessible. He said 47 of the 101 stations on the commuter rail line are handicapped accessible, as are 27 of the 51 stations on the Red, Orange, and Blue subway lines. As part of the comprehensive accessibility plan, 78 stations will be made accessible or will have its access improved. "We certainly recognize the accessibility issue and we are working toward making things better," said Dimond. "However, our key station plan does not call for every station to be accessible. Some of our commuter rail stations are lightly used and it is an extremely expensive proposition to make every station accessible. 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