Worcester Neighborhood Mobility Stroll

Worcester Neighborhood Mobility Stroll

On Saturday September 24, 2022 WalkBoston participated in a neighborhood mobility stroll organized by the Worcester Accessibility Advisory Commission in the Worcester-Polytechnic Institute neighborhood. Commissioners and resident disability advocates led participants in a taste of navigating city sidewalks blindfolded, or while using a manual wheelchair. Participants included city staff from the Departments of Transportation and Mobility,  Emergency Management and Communication. Other participants included leaders from WalkBike Worcester and students from WPI and Holy Cross working with the Commission on a fall project to increase access and awareness of public spaces for all residents. The Commission partnered with NuMotion and ReEquipment for the loan of the wheelchairs for Saturday’s event.

The Accessibility Advisory Commission educates and advocates for greater accessibility and universal design. Universal design refers to the process of creating environments and products that are accessible to people with a wide range of abilities, disabilities, and other characteristics. As it pertains to sidewalks and street crossings, increasing access means usability for everyone regardless of age or ability, including children, older adults, parents with strollers. The Commission uses mobility walks to educate local leaders and residents about some of the challenges faced by persons with different abilities navigating city streets in Worcester.

Wendy Landman, WalkBoston Senior Policy Advisor, participated in the stroll and found the experience enlightening as well as challenging both physically and emotionally. She said that, “our streets and sidewalks are truly barrier-full when traveling in a wheelchair or navigating with a white-cane (even when assisted by a trained guide!). A walk that is usually easy and quick for me became hard work, slow and disorienting. The walk gave me a deeper, more visceral understanding of the importance of fully accessible streets and sidewalks.”

WalkBoston’s participation in the Mobility Stroll was supported by an Age-Friendly Walking grant funded by Point32Health.

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