Metro partnered up with Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF), an independent living advocacy center that serves the senior and/or disabled population in central Los Angeles, to honor the 23rd anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act this morning with a disability sensitivity activity at Union Station.
Set up in the East Portal, CALIF brought various types of assistive equipment, such as wheelchairs and walkers, which passersby could use to experience what getting around is like for people with physical disabilities. Visitors could also sign in at the CALIF table using their non-dominant hand and try a marshmallow speaking exercise to get an idea of the different challenges physical disabilities can present.
As someone who has never had to use a wheelchair, using one to travel from the East Portal to the Red Line platform was an experience. It was faster than I thought it’d take, but there were instances where I had to consider limitations I don’t usually think about as a walking person – I was truly at the mercy of the elevator. And imagine asking for directions with a mouth full of marshmallow!
Public transportation provides a means for those with disabilities to travel independently and lead healthy, active lifestyles. Even as Metro’s ADA ridership continues to grow, it’s important to educate the public on the types of services available. Metro will continue to make improvements to remain one of the most accessible transit systems in the U.S.