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To the editors:
I recently encountered an accessibility issue in my neighborhood on Elmwood Road and felt it needed to be advocated. A new neighbor parked a large motor home in their driveway, rendering the sidewalk inaccessible. During the day, I saw mothers and caretakers with strollers unable to use the sidewalk and forced to step into the street to get around the vehicle. Noting this safety concern, I decided to call the town’s police to get some guidance and report this issue. Upon calling and speaking with an officer on the non-emergency line, I was surprised he told me the vehicle is on the driveway; there’s enough room to go around, concluding the motor home was legally parked.
As the owner of an inclusive woman-owned software testing company and certified in accessibility, https://IteratorsTesting.com, I inquired what law or statute allows parked vehicles to render the sidewalk inaccessible and sent the note to the Chief of Police, Jack Pilecki.
Chief Pilecki could not have been nicer, understood my concern, and assigned an officer to see what options were available. No one suggested they could not use their driveway, but the sidewalks need to be accessible to everyone. Later that day, the issue was corrected.
The Town of Wellesley does not have the most accessible sidewalks because of uneven pavements, hills, etc., so the citizens need to be an ally for those who face these kinds of access issues daily. So much is in the news each day about accessible websites, mobile apps, or access to restaurants for individuals in wheelchairs. In all kinds of situations, let’s rise to the occasion and speak up when instances of accessibility become an issue for us, our neighbors, and our community. And thanks to Captain Pilecki for being a champion of accessibility when brought to his attention.
Sincerely, Jill Willcox
Wellesley, MA 02481