Tall Ships, Accessible Beaches, Smart Technology and More!

March 2015 News

March has always meant basketball to me, but this year March has also meant food allergies. That’s right, food allergies. Most of my adolescence was plagued by severe allergies. I would sneeze in succession so many times that my mother ran out of expressions to say to me. Then came Singular and I am free! However, for those millions where a tiny pill will not work, I only dream that you, too, will see your cure. How food allergies fit into the Air Carrier Act and the ADA is not an easy debate  What I do know is that allergies can be life altering and even life threatening, so I ask the travel tourism industry to do just one thing: Ask. Just ask if there is anything you can do to help those with food allergies. Be reasonable and polite and do your best to help in some way; it’s really not that complicated. Remember, it’s better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all. This article is for all of those little people in my family and community who have nut allergies. Jake and Summer’s dad is behind ya’!

Eric Lipp, Executive Director
Open Doors Organization

CRO Classes JFK & LAS

Do you need to train additional Complaint Resolution Officials before the summer travel season? A few spaces are still available in our Initial CRO classes this April and May.  The 1-1/2 day trainings will take place on April 20-21 at JFK and on May 14-15 at LAS. To register, email Eric Lipp or call him at 773-388-8839.

ODO in Paris

The 2015 Passenger Terminal Conference, held March 10-12 in Paris, included a stellar session on the needs of passengers with disabilities. Shown above are panelists Laurel Van Horn, ODO; Roberto Castiglioni, Reduced Mobility Rights Ltd; Geraldine Lundy, Virgin Atlantic; and Kavaragu Mtambuzi, Virgin America. Wayfinding and beacons were hot topics at not only the Conference but also at Urbaccess, the European accessibility show held concurrently in Paris.

ATTRI Webinar on Veterans and Wounded Warriors

The third ATTRI webinar on Smart Technologies and User Needs, moderated once again by ODO's Executive Director Eric Lipp, will take place on April 14 from 1pm-3pm EDT. This accessible web cast will elicit feedback from veterans with disabilities, wounded warriors and their advocates. ATTRI is a Dept. of Transportation (DOT) initative co-led by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that focuses on identifying, developing and deploying transformative technologies, applications and systems that address mobility challenges of people with disabilities. For additional information or to register, contact Charlene Wilder at DOT. 

New DOT Regulation for Transportation Providers

On March 13 the Dept. of Transportation published a final rule under 49 CFR Parts 27 and 37 entitled "Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities; Reasonable Modification of Policies and Practices." It seeks to close a gap in the ADA and comes in response to recent court challenges by paratransit agencies to the principle of reasonable modification, first established under Section 504. The new rule requires all public transportation entities, both private and public, to adjust their policies and practices to meet the needs of the individual with a disability if the request is reasonable and does not pose a threat to the safety of others. It spells out exceptions, provides concrete examples and details the complaint procedures that must be implemented. The effective date is July 13, 2015.
DOT News Release.

Accessible Tall Ships

If ever you've wanted to run away to sail the high seas, we've got an adventure for you! Candace Cable, ODO consultant, just came back from 14 days on the Lord Nelson, sailing from the Bahamas to Bermuda as the guest of The Jubilee Sailing Trust, a UK non-profit. JST’s  Lord Nelson and Tenacious are the only Tall Ships worldwide that are accessible for all people with disabilities, enabling them to sail as part of the crew.
    But that is about to change! America’s Freedom Sailor, a US organization, is collaborating with JST to create the next Tall Ship, not just accessible but Universally Designed. Stay posted for more information on this new initiative. Shown above: Beth Livingston, Candace Cable.

Accessible Beach in Playa del Carmen

Mexico's first accessible beach opened this February just north of the ferry dock in Playa del Carmen. It offers shade, drinking water, showers, a boardwalk to the water's edge, specialized aquatic equipment and assistance for older adults and those with physical disabilities. Nine more are planned statewide in Quintano Roo.

2015 CRO Classes

ODO Initial Complaints Resolution Official Training are now scheduled in a number of cities nationwide. 2015 CRO Schedule. Call 773.388.8839 or email Eric Lipp to register. Space is limited!
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