A committee of CityLink employees are taking extra steps to link the interests of transit and disability.
The chairman of the committee is James Polk, who is also the vice-chair of Citylink’s Board of Trustees and chair of CityLink’s ADA Advisory committee. Other members include Maggie Martino; Planning Program Manager for the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission; Renee Razo; Director of Program Management for Central Illinois Agency on Aging and a member of CityLink’s ADA advisory committee; Christie Mitchell, Shift Shelter Coordinator for the Salvation Army and member of Citylink’s ADA advisory committee and John Williams, Director of Special Services for Citylink and staff liaison to CityLink’s ADA committee and spokesperson for the (ACTI) Accessible Transportation Coalitions Initiative’s team. Jill Goforth, Planner with the Tri County Regional Planning Commission has been as-sisting with planning efforts.
Peoria, Area community was among 10 communities selected from throughout the U.S. who par-ticipated in the Accessible Transportation Coalitions initiative offered by Easter Seals Project ACTION (ESPA). Our community was selected through a competitive application process in which a commitment to improving accessibility had to be expressed.
This event is designed to bring our community together to develop a plan to strengthen the avail-ability and accessibility of transportation services,” John Williams said. “Individuals in and around the Peoria Area community look to various agencies to address their need for accessible transportation; an important way to do that is through a cross-agency approach with the intent to continue cooperative efforts”.
The plan involves mitigating barriers to transit by the disabled community, The City of Peoria, Metropolitan Planning Organization and CityLink has been meeting over a year to tackle issues such as no sidewalks at bus stops, no handicapped ramps where sidewalks exist and lack of bus shelters.
Also, the Metropolitan Planning Organization has been charged with coordinating the Human Service Trans-portation Plan for a 7 county region, which has developed goals and plans to address accessible and coordi-nated transportation issues. It is the committee’s goal to utilize the expertise of ATCI to provide the commu-nity with tools and technical assistance both during the ATCI event and afterward to meet our goals and objec-tives. By utilizing existing plans we hope to use this event to promote systems change in the area of accessible transportation.
Sponsor of the event and funding the community’s participation was Easter Seals Project ACTION- acronym stands for Accessible Community Transportation in Our Nation- which is funded through a coopera-tive agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration. ESPA pro-motes cooperation between the transportation industry and the disability community to increase mobility for all people under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Established in 1988, ESPA is administered by Easter seals Inc.
A part of CityLink’s mission is to provide economic, social and environmental benefits to the commu-nity through progressive, customer-focused transportation service. There has been an on-going, joint effort be-tween the Tri- County Planning Commission, Central Illinois Agency on Aging, CityLink, and various other agencies to provide accessible transportation in and around the Tri-County Area and all our mission is to be able to provide affordable transportation to individuals who utilize public transportation and those who are in need.
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