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Disability Action Center NW

City plans to make downtown ADA-friendly

The City of Pullman is redesigning its downtown area and accessibility to businesses for people with disabilities.

Dan Records, Pullman city council member, said at a meeting Tuesday afternoon that accessibility to the primary business district is an important issue that needs to be addressed.

“The city of Pullman has hired a consulting company, BDS consulting [BDS Planning and Urban Design], to help us design a plan for our downtown area,” he said.

Several community members attended and were able to voice their concerns and suggestions for the new city plan. Two city council members and a representative from the consulting company were present.

Concerns held by community members ranged from sidewalk clearance to winter weather, but the biggest issue brought up by attendees was parking.

There is currently only one disabled parking spot near the business district, Records said. There are others, but they’re too far away for people with disabilities to get to businesses.

WSU professor Elizabeth Siler said the main business district in Pullman is not accessible for people with disabilities.

“I’ll never be able to go to Rico’s [Pub] and if I do, I won’t be able to use the bathroom,” she said.

Dan Maher, Pullman community member, said other cities like Walla Walla do a better job making crosswalks accessible to the visually impaired, like including speakers that let residents know when it’s safe to walk.

Siler said another shared concern is the city holding meetings and not fixing the issues regarding accessibility.

Maher said the change in the cities’ stance against disabilities needs to be spread out among all stakeholders in the issue.

“It’s a good thing that we’re all here, but we’re the recipients of the bullsh-t,” he said.

Brian Scott, representative from the consulting company, said there’s going to be a lot of opportunities to get feedback from the community.

There are three phases of the plan’s development, Scott said. First the research analysis phase, then the plan development phase and finally the refinement phase.

“So far we haven’t recommended anything or started developing any recommendations, we’ve just been listening,” he said.

There will be two separate community meetings about the development plan, which will be held on Oct. 1 and 2 at Oak on Main Street, Scott said.

On Oct. 1 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. the consulting company will present its findings, some alternative plans and then receive feedback. By Oct. 2, they will have taken the feedback into consideration and at 5:30-7:30 p.m. they will present their revised plans, he said.

“From there we will start working on our draft plan, present that to our steering committee a couple of months later and then working on the details over a couple of months to finish after the first of the year,” Scott said.

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to clarify that community members did meet, but it was not a city council meeting as originally published.