Protest At Dayton Mall RTA Stop To Recognize Americans With Disabilities Act
Local groups will recognize the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act or ADA this weekend with a protest. Activists say the Greater Dayton RTA bus stop at the Dayton Mall discriminates against people with disabilities.
The ADA is a federal law that’s led to a lot of the accommodations we’re used to today, like curb ramps and braille on elevators, but leaders with Access Dayton and Leaders for Equality and Action Dayton (LEAD) say the bus stop at the Dayton Mall violates the spirit of that law.
John Dixon with Access Dayton uses a wheelchair, and he says it’s hours to ride the bus out there. The trip up a slight slope and across a parking lot to get from the bus stop to the mall entrance makes it that much more difficult.
“Who would want to go through a three or four hour process just to go out that far and have to come back and do the same thing on leaving?” Dixon says. “You can’t even enjoy going to the mall.”
He and others who are advocating to move the bus stop say the property manager, Glimcher in Columbus, hasn’t been responsive. They are now working to convince some of the anchor tenants to advocate for their cause.
Greater Dayton RTA is on board with the idea of moving the stop and has presented several options for new locations, but Glimcher doesn’t agree with the plans RTA has proposed. GDRTA has been communicating with Glimcher about the issue for years, but Frank Ecklar, director of planning and marketing with GDRTA, says the company has gone back on its promises.
“We are at a stalemate with Glimcher properties,” says Ecklar.
Glimcher declined an interview, but issued a statement that says, “WP Glimcher has worked diligently with all parties to identify a new location designated for bus service at the Dayton Mall and have done our part in moving this process forward. It is with GDRTA as to whether they want to take advantage of this designated area.”
Ecklar also noted that the distance and safety problems affect not just shoppers, but workers at the mall.
“Over 60 percent of our riders in our system are going to work,” says Ecklar. “This is, in many citizens’ view, really an ADA access issue.”
Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.