Cuts make life difficult for people with disabilities

On Nov. 1, Paratransit will no longer bring riders to the Developmental Disabilities Services Office (DDSO) in West Seneca. Instead, it will drop people off at Southgate Plaza and expect them to find their way. The walk from Southgate Plaza to the entrance of DDSO is 1¾ miles, and it is another half mile to the building where advocacy meetings are held.

I think it’s horrible and unfair. There is a man who goes out there who is blind and he’ll be expected to make it to the DDSO alone. What about people in wheelchairs? What if their electricity runs out? What if they have to go to the bathroom? A few weeks ago, my friend tipped over in his wheelchair doing that route. He had to wait for someone to stop and help.

The route to the DDSO from Southgate has little to no sidewalks. There is really no place for us to walk or roll in wheelchairs. We will be passing driveways, going over a bridge and passing big open fields with no one around. There is nothing out there but trees, grass and deer. I am really putting myself out there to face the elements alone, and it’s not safe. And to start this on Nov. 1, when it may be icy and cold? I mean, come on.

I have transportation assistance from Community Habilitation support from the Learning Disabilities Association of Western New York only twice a week. Community Hab. is my only transportation option outside of taking the bus. What about meetings and appointments that don’t land on those days? Last year they cut the bus route to the DDSO, so people had to use Para-transit. Now that’s ending, too. I want to be independent, but these continued cuts are taking that away. Every year there are more cuts. When will it stop?

Janet Harrison

Member, Innovative-Voice, Learning

Disabilities Association of WNY