Disability advocates from local groups including The Ability Center, The Fair Housing Center, Toledo/Lucas County Community of People with Disabilities, and Community Advocates for Transportation Rights (CATR) came together for a press conference welcoming the addition of a new Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) bus stop located near Charming Charlie at Franklin Park Mall on August 20.
This achievement is a culmination of several years of grassroots advocacy efforts to improve accessibility for people living with disabilities. TARTA’s curbside service because effect on Sunday, August 19.
“The bus stop demonstrates what we can do when people with disabilities and businesses in our community work together to make our spaces more accessible. Congratulations to the Toledo Lucas County Commission on Disabilities, CATR, and Franklin Park Mall on taking one more step towards a fully accessible and inclusive Toledo,” shares Katherine Hunt Thomas, Disability Rights Lawyer, The Ability Center.
The route will run every 30 minutes with curbside line service accessible to passengers near the southwest entrance of the mall near Macy's and Charming Charlie. The Franklin Park Mall stop can be utilized via route 3 on weekdays and route 22 on weekends. View the complete list of TARTA routes here.
“As our aging and disability populations continue to grow, our community has a responsibility to provide housing and public spaces that are welcoming and accessible for all,” stated Christina Rodriguez, Staff Attorney at The Fair Housing Center.
With the added bus stop, patrons will now have a direct walking path to the entrance of the building, providing individuals with mobility disabilities safer access.
On behalf of the Commission, we would like to give many thanks to Franklin Park Mall and TARTA that now all people have access to the mall. Until this new stop, many people with disabilities were unable to attend movies, events, meet friends for dinner, or go shopping at Franklin Park Mall,” shares Angie Goodnight from the Toledo Lucas County Commission on Disabilities.
Stephen Atkinson, Director Marketing for TARTA, explains, “TARTA service improvements were made possible through the cooperation of The Ability Center and Franklin Park Mall management so passengers may better access the retail center for shopping, employment, and entertainment opportunities.”
Organizers hope this addition will set the tone for other businesses and entities to ensure their property is accessible to everyone. “It will be tremendously helpful to people with disabilities who cannot walk long distances, use wheelchairs, or other mobility aides. It will also help senior citizens and families with small children board the bus more safely,” says Jo Rita Fox, a member of Community Advocates for Transportation Rights.