BluePath Looks Forward to a Busy Year
Accessibility website getting rave reviews
BluePath has grown a lot since it’s launch. From its initial listing of around 160 businesses, it now has 250! This is in part due to our volunteers. Students at both Washington State University and University of Idaho have been taking part in Mapathons.
These events work in several ways. First there is an education that happens for the students. They learn about barriers to accessibility and the purpose behind the ADA. These students were all born AFTER the ADA was signed into law! So they didn’t know about the struggle for independent living prior to that. Then they go out into the field and “map” accessible businesses. By helping populate the site, it helps create a better tool for people with disabilities to access the information they need in order to do business in their community.
BluePath differs from other accessible sites in a number of ways. It is cross-disability, not just looking for wheelchair accessible sites. We look at businesses that remove barriers for people with hearing and vision impairments. It is also not reliant on reviews. There is a strict protocol that a business goes through to see if it meets minimal accessibility requirements. This is not to say they have to be completely ADA compliant! Often times, if a business wants to serve customers with disabilities, they can find alternate ways of doing things to make that customer feel welcome. They are also committed to being open to discussion about removing barriers. A person with a disability can make a recommendation about what may make their experience better and know they will be listened to with respect.
2017 will see growth in the number of businesses listed on the site. Mapathons are scheduled from January to April in Pullman, Moscow, and Vancouver.
How can you help? You can become a Pathfinder by signing up on the site. Then when you go into a business that you think is accessible, you can fill out a 10 minute “Quick Look” survey and – boom – the business is loaded! It’s not hard, the questions are all in easy to understand language and it can be done on your smartphone.
So join today and help us build a more accessible world!