Oakland For All For more information about the Oakland For All program please call:
Oakland Business Improvement District 412.683.6243 or
Oakland Transportation Management Association 412.687.4505

PRESS

Champions

2018 Child and Youth Disability Summit

Save the date for PA State Representative Dan Miller’s 5th Annual Children & Youth Disability & Mental Health Summit on March 22nd & 23rd, 2018. This event is Free & Open to the public.

For more details, visit http://www.disabilitysummit.com.


On the 25th Anniversary of the ADA, 25 Easy Ways to Make Your Business More Accessible to Customers with Disabilities

Sunday, July 26, 2015, marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the spirit of anniversary of this important law, here are 25 simple ways to make your business more accessible to customers with disabilities, and provide a great experience for them and their friends and/or family members.

Click HERE for the full list


Smart Traffic Signals Designed for Pedestrians with Disabilities

Traffic signals will soon be getting smarter, and that’s good news for those with disabilities.

A two-year project begun by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center aims to develop a system for relaying information from a user’s smartphone to traffic signals – which can then adjust their timing, giving pedestrians with visual or other disabilities more time to make a safe crossing.

"The smartphone can learn how fast the pedestrian moves, or if the user might have difficulty at certain intersections," explains robotics professor Stephen Smith. "The intersection could extend the green in real time… and it might monitor the phone's location so that it notices if (the pedestrian) starts moving outside of the crosswalk."

Smith previously led the development of the Surtrac system of smart signals, which uses artificial intelligence to monitor traffic. Surtrac enables signals to alter their timing and maximize the number of cars that can pass through an intersection, eliminating the need for unnecessary idling at a stop light when no cross traffic is present. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the system has shown an ability to reduce travel time by 25 percent, braking by 30 percent and idling by more than 40 percent.

Development of the new pedestrian system initially will involve a set of existing smart signals near the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, in Pittsburgh. Two additional intersections will subsequently be equipped with smart signals to connect the system with the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children in Oakland.

Smith said he anticipates yearly field tests of the system on people with visual disabilities; once developed, it also should work for people with other types of disabilities. Eventually, it might be used by pedestrians of all abilities – such as in suburban areas, where signals are not timed to accommodate the infrequent street-crosser.

In order to communicate with the traffic signals, smartphones will need to be equipped with dedicated short range communications (DSRC) radios. For the study, a DSRC sleeve can be fitted to existing smartphones.

The project is largely sponsored by a $2 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration.

To contact the author of this article, email tony.pallone@ieeeglobalspec.com.


Community Spotlight: Pittsburgh’s “Oakland For All”

Oakland For All - Beyond Accessible (link is external) is an initiative promoting accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood. Oakland, home to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, is an urban area with a lively business district.

Oakland For All (OFA), founded in 2015 in honor of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, is facilitated by the Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) (link is external) and the Oakland Transportation Management Association (OTMA) (link is external). OFA is a collaboration of stakeholders, advocacy groups, non-profit organizations, universities, and businesses. Their mission statement is "Together, we are opening a pathway to a community without barriers."

Georgia Petropoulus, Executive Director of the OBID, answered some questions recently about Oakland For All.

How did your organization get involved?

There was a very active advocacy group called Accessible Oakland that reached out to the Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) regarding help to work with businesses to improve access to their storefronts. Accessible Oakland is made up of employees, students, and residents of Oakland. The issue of storefront access was the first issue, and over time we also captured additional community issues such as bike lane policies.

What kind of support have you received from the city and community?

Enormous! We have a very active group of stakeholders representing various Oakland and city entities such as universities, hospitals, museums, libraries, and city government. We have received support from city offices and departments with regards to policy and infrastructure changes (such as bringing back blue paint to mark ADA on-street parking spaces). We have also raised over $50,000 in support from local and state government and from local foundations to support our various efforts.

Tell us a little something about the grants available to businesses in the community to improve accessibility.

To improve storefront accessibility and encourage business patronage from all Oakland stakeholders, OBID received $35,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Keystone Communities Fund and the City of Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority to provide matching grants to Oakland businesses to remove any storefront barriers, such as adding a ramp or adding a power door.

How did the idea of the Ramp Crawl come about?

The idea was suggested by a member of our Oakland for All Stakeholder Committee during an idea-generating session about how to celebrate business owners that have made efforts to be accessible and to attract more people with disabilities to patronize our businesses.

Can you give us a few examples of some positive outcomes from the initiative?

Plenty! We completed an extensive promotion and outreach campaign. We’ve hosted the Oakland Ramp Crawl for three years and the event continues to grow. For the first time, this year's event included a performance from a local artist with a disability, and we are planning to celebrate more artists in future. Two businesses have removed access barriers by adding ramps and two more are in the application process. We worked with the city to update its bike lane policy to accommodate public and private access vehicles, and we brought back blue paint along curbs to denote on-street ADA metered parking.

Is there anything new coming up?

Current advocacy efforts are occurring around access needs and the Allegheny County and City of Pittsburgh's proposed Bus Rapid Transit system that will capture the Oakland community. More business owners are applying for the Storefront Barrier Removal program and we are planning Oakland Ramp Crawl 2018!!


Pittsburgh Disability March

“Access Mob Pittsburgh invites you to a celebration of the 27th Anniversary of the Signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act!

Festivities begin on Tuesday, July 25 from 6-9 PM, with a Disability Network Night at Hill House, located at 1835 Centre Avenue (15219). All are welcome to join in a casual evening of information sharing and networking with representatives from area advocacy groups. Members of the public are invited to come and meet with organizers to find out what’s going on in the Pittsburgh disability community.

On Wednesday, July 26 from 12-3 PM, there will be a rally and march in Downtown Pittsburgh on Liberty Avenue between Commonwealth Place and Stanwix Street. Speakers include local disability activists in the fields of employment, healthcare, community organizing, and more. Participants are invited to join in a half-mile solidarity march. For those who wish to take part without marching, there will be seating and activities at the main stage, including adaptive games from local playground integrators at Find Some Flow.

For more information, check out our website at https://pghadarally.com/. If you have any questions, you can email us at PghADA.AnniversaryRally@gmail.com or call us at (412) 407-7128.


PA ABLE Savings Account Program

The Pennsylvania Treasury Department has launched the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Program website, www.paable.gov, that provides quick and easy access to essential information on the upcoming program to give individuals with qualified disabilities a tax-free way to save for future disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. The site also has a short quiz to determine eligibility, a comprehensive Frequently Asked Question section and allows users to sign up to receive updates on the program when accounts open for enrollment.

This program was created through Act 17 of 2016, legislation I was proud to co-sponsor and support. It was modeled after the college 529 savings account programs. PA ABLE accounts will allow eligible individuals with qualifying disabilities and their families to save for housing, education, transportation, medical, and other expenses without jeopardizing government benefits. The federal tax-free savings and investment options are offered to encourage individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life.

The Treasury Department will update the PA ABLE website regularly with news of account openings, investment options, and account enrollment. Visitors are encouraged to explore the website and sign up for direct emails from the Treasury Department on PA ABLE programming. Treasury staff is also available to answer questions via phone at 1-855-529-2253, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Navigating Oakland: Tour shows Senate group area’s accessibility issues

On Tuesday, November 15, DJ Stemmler, an administrator at the University of Pittsburgh, along with Georgia Petropoulos, OBID executive director, and Kannu Sahni, Pitt’s director of Community Relations, embraced the opportunity to lead the University of Pittsburgh's Senate community relations committee (CRC) on a half-mile trek through Oakland pointing out what’s good, what’s bad and what’s improving in terms of ADA accessibility.

Read The Full Article


Ford Shifts Grant Making to Focus Entirely on Inequality

The fight against inequality will take center stage at the Ford Foundation under a sweeping overhaul announced today by the nation’s second biggest philanthropy.

Not only will Ford direct all of its money and influence to curbing financial, racial, gender, and other inequities, but it will give lots more money in a way grantees have been clamoring for: It hopes to double the total it gives in the form of unrestricted grants for operating support. The doubling of general operating support to 40 percent of the foundation’s grant-making budget, projected to be in excess of $1 billion over five years, will enable Ford to create what its president, Darren Walker, calls a "social-justice infrastructure" reminiscent of the support it provided nonprofits during the civil-rights era.

"By giving a set of institutions core support or seed capital, we helped initiate and support entire movements," he said. "We contributed to an entire generation of social-justice leaders around the world."

Ford Shifts Grant Making to Focus Entirely on Inequality


Rory Cooper: Professor and Director of Pitt’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories

Rory Cooper: Professor and Director of Pitt’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories


Ford Shifts Grant Making to Focus Entirely on Inequality

The fight against inequality will take center stage at the Ford Foundation under a sweeping overhaul announced today by the nation’s second biggest philanthropy.

Not only will Ford direct all of its money and influence to curbing financial, racial, gender, and other inequities, but it will give lots more money in a way grantees have been clamoring for: It hopes to double the total it gives in the form of unrestricted grants for operating support. The doubling of general operating support to 40 percent of the foundation’s grant-making budget, projected to be in excess of $1 billion over five years, will enable Ford to create what its president, Darren Walker, calls a "social-justice infrastructure" reminiscent of the support it provided nonprofits during the civil-rights era.

"By giving a set of institutions core support or seed capital, we helped initiate and support entire movements," he said. "We contributed to an entire generation of social-justice leaders around the world."

Ford Shifts Grant Making to Focus Entirely on Inequality


pathVu Announces Publication of ASTM E3028 Standard

pathVu is excited to announce the publication of ASTM E3028-16 titled: Standard Practice for Computing Wheelchair Pathway Roughness Index (WPRI) as Related to Comfort, Passability, and Whole Body Vibrations from Longitudinal Profile Measurements. This is an important outcome from over 20 years of pathway-related research to improve the lives of people with disabilities performed by the founders of pathVu and researchers at the Human Engineering Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, with funding from the US Access Board, Veterans Administration, and Industry Sponsorship.

Our proprietary Pathway Measurement Tool (PathMeT) was used to develop this standard and has been used to evaluate sidewalk quality around the United States.

pathVu will be conducting a series of free webinars describing the new standard, the proposed WPRI thresholds for ADA compliance that have been published in Assistive Technology, and the upcoming policy and legislative steps that will make this a requirement for all pedestrian pathways.

Those interested in attending should use the following form to express their interest: pathVu E3028 Webinar Interest.

pathVu is excited for the publication of this standard in pursuit of its vision of a world that is accessible, walkable, and safe for all pedestrians -- of all abilities.


Diversity in Action

Diversity in Action


Blue is Back!

As part of the on-going efforts to make Oakland a model community for accessibility, OBID, OTMA and the Oakland for All team worked with our City partners to mark the ADA Parking spots with the universally recognized blue color. A special thank you to our City Councilman Dan Gilman (left) and City Chief Operations Officer Guy Costa (right) who led the effort to make Oakland the first Pittsburgh community to have these blue markings.


May 5, 2016 Oakland Ramp Crawl

Click Here to View Pictures

Together, we are opening a pathway for a community without barriers.

The Ramp Crawl is a fun, positive event that enables registered participants* with the opportunity to experience many Oakland establishments. For a donation of $20, each ‘crawler’ will receive a Ramp Crawl 2016 t-shirt, and if participants visit each designated ‘stop,’ they’ll walk away with a generous gift bag. Attendees will enjoy beverage specials and food from various Oakland food and beverage establishments. All ticket proceeds benefit the Oakland For All – Beyond Accessible program and its initiatives. The event showcases best practices of ADA compliant establishments and positions Oakland as a thought leader in creating a more accessibility-friendly business district.

Oakland restaurants acting as ‘stops’ for the Ramp Crawl include:

Fuel & Fuddle
212 Oakland Ave.

Garage Door Saloon
223 Atwood St.

Garden Grille & Bar at the Hilton Garden Inn
Pittsburgh University Place
3454 Forbes Ave.

Primanti Bros.
3803 Forbes Ave.

Stack’d Burgers & Beer
3716 Forbes Ave.

The Porch at Schenley
221 Schenley Dr.

Registered participants will begin the event
at The Tent at Schenley Plaza

*Must be 21 years of age or older to participate in the Ramp Crawl 2016.

If you have any questions, Oakland For All – Beyond Accessible also welcomes you to contact Georgia Petropoulos 412.683.6243 ext. 18 or Mavis Rainey 412.687.4505.

 

2016 Ramp Crawl Press Release

2016 Ramp Crawl Press Coverage

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

NextPittsburgh

KDKA


From May through August 2015, the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a series of community-wide events recognizing the landmark law that has transformed lives by removing barriers to civic participation, housing, transportation, employment, arts and recreation, education and much more.

The Pittsburgh/Allegheny County celebrations highlighted local accomplishments and champions, as well as next steps for our community. Below is a sample of events and press that occurred throughout the celebration

May 5, 2015 Oakland Ramp Crawl