NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Norfolk Chapter of Virginia Organizing and disability rights advocates have a reason to celebrate today.
Last summer, Virginia Organizing held listening sessions where Norfolk citizens with disabilities were able to voice their concerns and complaints. During these meetings, the citizens voiced their inability to navigate the city, stating the problems they had getting onto sidewalks, buses, and certain local businesses.
Recently, City Council has officially agreed to change the following issues people encounter throughout Norfolk:
- Sidewalks and curb cuts around ODU and Downtown are very chaotic; there needs to be continuity and well-paved sidewalks.
- Re-implementing a bus stop in front of Endependence Center, at Virginia Beach Boulevard and Land Street.
- Make the ADA coordinator more visible on the Norfolk.gov website.
- Find a way to slow traffic down on Hampton Blvd and Waterside Drive.
- Change zoning laws so that all new businesses coming to Norfolk are accessible to people with mobility difficulties. Grandfathered-in businesses need to change protocol so that they are ADA-compliant. Renovations to these businesses need to be accessible.
- Make a permit for these vehicles that provide services to be exempt from parking restrictions, or have designated loading areas.
- Make more loading zones with loading docks for wheelchairs in downtown
- Making a bus stop at the Social Security office on Military Highway.
Already, officials say that over $100 million has been allocated to fixing sidewalks and installing a bus stop in front of Endependence Center. Alongside those changes, the Norfolk.gov website has been redesigned to make locating the ADA coordinator easier. The rest of the list will be addressed in the coming months.