[nfbwatlk] Listening Sessions, Disability and Public Transportation

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Tue Aug 27 21:29:11 UTC 2013

If you believe that a special session will occur about this, I have a
suspension bridge I'd be glad to sell you.


-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Jacob
Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 1:19 AM
To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Listening Sessions, Disability and Public Transportation

Here is the information on the two upcoming meetings regarding Listening
Sessions Throughout the State, Disability and Public Transportation.
This is a great chance for people to make their voice heard in working
toward a special session of the State Legislature and passing a
transportation package that includes Public Transportation.

Disability advocates - interested in meeting the transportation needs of our

Hi Disability Advocates,

As you all know, people with disabilities have significant challenges when
it comes to transportation - paratransit shuttles have long wait times,
sidewalks are incomplete, bus service keeps getting cut back, and many parts
of the state have no transportation service at all.
While the state has a funding stream for "special needs"
transportation, it's too small and doesn't come close to meeting the needs
of our community throughout the state. We need to change that.
For those unfamiliar with the special needs transportation program, it
provides grants for paratransit via transit agencies and community
organizations that provide accessible transportation options to serve people
with disabilities, seniors, low-income individuals and youth.
However, the bulk of the funding goes to organizations serving people with
disabilities and seniors.

Luckily, legislators are discussing how to fix our transportation problems
right now, so we have an incredible, once-in-a-decade opportunity that we
must take advantage of. Just recently, Senator Curtis King (chair of the
Senate Transportation Committee) announced that he will be having listening
sessions throughout the state to find out what residents are thinking about.
We need to pack these community meetings with disability advocates to make
sure legislators understand the need to increase funding for special needs

Along with other disability advocates, I'm working on a specific proposal
that would increase funding and improve services throughout the state, but
we need your help to make sure legislators support it.
Other groups are working on improving bus service and sidewalks (see
Transportation for All and the Complete Streets initiative), but no one is
talking about additional funding specifically for people with disabilities.

We also need to have some direct one-on-one meetings with legislators to
discuss our proposal and ask for their support. So I'd like to bring
disability advocates together to work on a plan to get legislators on board
with our request. I worked with some of you during the legislative session
to put together a letter asking legislators for their support but we need to
re-double our efforts in order to be successful. I need your help to make
this a success.

Legislators are talking about having a special session in late November
where they may pass a transportation package, so we have to reach out to
them in the next few months.

I'd like to have two meetings in Olympia and Seattle to discuss this issue.
The Olympia meeting will be next Thursday, August 29, 1-2:30 p.m. at the 5th
Floor Conference Room of the Raad Building (128 10th Ave SW - the GCDE
office building). The Seattle meeting will be Wednesday, August 28 at 10am
at the Arc of King County at 233 6th Ave N, Seattle. Sorry for the short
notice but we have to move quickly in order to start talking to legislators
in a coordinated manner. You do not need to attend both meetings - the
content will be the same but will allow us to make sure we are including
advocates from both Olympia and Seattle. These meetings are geared towards
staff or high level volunteers who can help activate their networks around
this issue, not necessarily individual advocates. Accommodations and
interpreters are available upon request, thanks to the generous contribution
of the DDO.

I've also been talking with aging advocates and they are very interested in
this issue as well. We'll be working with them on our efforts, but we need a
big showing from the disability community.

Lastly, at these meetings, I also want us to re-visit the idea of a broad
cross-disability coalition. We made some steps towards this idea during the
legislative session, but we have much more work to do.

Please RSVP to me if you can attend either meeting.



Jim Freeburg
Advocacy Director

National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Greater Northwest Chapter, Seattle Office
192 Nickerson St, Suite 100
Seattle, WA  98109
tel         +1 206 284 4254 ext 40237
tel         +1 800 344 4867 press 2 then ext 40237
fax        +1 206 284 4972

email       Jim.Freeburg at nmss.org

blog        WeMoveMS

*The Transit Riders Union is a democratic organization of working and poor
people, taking control over our own lives, and building up the power we need
to change society for the good of humanity and of the planet. We will fight
to preserve, expand, and improve the public transportation system in Seattle
and beyond, so that every human being has access to safe, affordable, and
reliable public transit.*

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