June 2021 News
Summertime is upon us and with the world opening back up, ODO'ers really hit the road! In June we visited Albany, Buffalo, Wilmington, New York City, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and Orlando! Airports look busier and trains are starting to look fuller, but there is lots of room to grow! Many restaurants and hotels underwent major construction projects, and our hope is that businesses in travel and hospitality have learned about equity and inclusion. I just love the slogan “Build Back Better.” It reminds me of the country’s second industrial revolution where Americans came together to build the transportation infrastructure that exists today, but now we can build it back for everyone.
Eric Lipp, Executive Director
Open Doors Organization
Buffalo NY ITS4US Project
This June Katy O'Reilly and Laurel Van Horn visited the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and surrounding neighborhoods to assess sidewalk, crosswalk, bus stop and metro station accessibility. The USDOT "Complete Trip Deployment Pilot," headed by ICF International, aims to address mobility and accessibility challenges and improve "last mile" connectivity to underserved communities via a variety of new and advanced technologies. These include electric self-driving shuttles, a trip planning app customized for accessible travel, intersections that use tactile and mobile technologies, and outdoor/indoor wayfinding. Also contributing to the project are the U. of Buffalo IDEA Center and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. (Shown above: Katy at a very challenging bus stop.)
Cruising is Back!
The Celebrity Edge sailed to the Caribbean from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on June 26th, the first cruise ship to leave a U.S. port with ticketed passengers since service was suspended in March 2020. The CDC currently requires that 95% of both passengers and crew be vaccinated. For this sailing, 100% of crew and 99% of passengers met the requirement. Celebrity requires a negative COVID test for any passenger who is unvaccinated or will not share their vaccination status (not mandatory under Florida law). Celebrity Edge, first launched in 2018, is the brand's newest and most accessible ship. One amazing innovation, the Magic Carpet cantilevered deck, provides accessible tendering when moved down to Deck 2 and additional bar and restaurant space when stationed at upper decks. A YouTube video by Sylvia Longmire demonstrates how someone in a power chair can easily access the Magic Carpet and the new Celebrity tender boats. (Shown above: Celebrity Edge with Magic Carpet at water level and tender boat alongside).
National ADA Symposium---July 26-28, Desert Ridge Marriot Resort, Phoenix, AZ; Virtual Event, Aug. 2 - 5. Both events will offer the same content and presenters and allow attendees to make individual appointments with vendors. Registration and Details.
FAA National Civil Rights Training for Airports--Aug. 23-24, 10:00am-4:00pm EDT. Now in its 12th year, this free event will be again be virtual. On Aug. 24, ODO will participate in a panel on effective communication for travelers with disabilities. Information and Registration.
TravelAbility Tampa 2021--Aug. 30-31, Tampa Convention Center. This hybrid event will welcome individuals ready for a face-to-face meeting while also accommodating those not yet ready to travel. Included will be the 11 hours of content originally planned for two separate virtual sessions in Sept. and Nov. Agenda. Registration.