Posted in Government programs and services

Without Curb Cuts, People with Disabilities can be Stranded

Last summer,I had the opportunity to visit New York. While it was a great trip, one of the things I remember most is how scary it was to walk down the street with my cane.

This was partly because of the hoardes of people whipping past me – every one of whom seemed to have their eyes on their smart phones instead of where they were going. That added an element of danger to each excursion, but it was well worth it because…what was the alternative?

But the danger intensified when it came to crossing the street. Now I wasn’t just trying to avoid people, but I was trying to stay out of the way of cars – some of which were moving very fast and whose drivers did not seem very attentive.

While these risks cannot be completely eliminated, it sure helped when there were curb cuts. They made venturing out into the street a whole lot safer.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that curb cuts be installed on most newly-constructed or newly-altered sidewalks.

And the following recent New York Times piece discusses how trapped people can feel when those curb cuts do not exist.

As the article indicates, sometimes curb cuts can make all the difference as to whether a person can leave their home. And since October is “National Disabled Employees Awareness Month,” let’s remember that none of that does much good if someone can’t even make it to work.

Helen Russon


I am an attorney with a disability, and I co-teach a class on disability law. But because laws are just words, I would like to learn and convey more of the real world of living with a disability in the 21st Century.

What do you think? Let us know!