The joint East Hampton Town and Village Disabilities Advisory Board has issued a call for the public to help it develop a list of spots where access by the disabled is a problem. Civic-minded citizens and officials should make it a priority. The committee has only met irregularly, but its chairman, Glenn Hall of Amagansett, is eager to take problems with accessibility, whether to public or business places, to the right officials.
As a former disabilities committee chairman has pointed out, in several instances East Hampton Town itself is apparently in violation of its own access policy, as well as state and federal law. Two problems Richard Rosenthal cited were at Town Hall, where assisted-listening devices were not provided, and at the entrance to the Town Justice Court. There, the wheelchair ramp is a lumpy splash of asphalt, while handicapped parking is tucked away senselessly around a corner of the building without proper pavement markings.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is intended to ensure that all citizens have equal access to workplaces and government offices. However, the act can have no effect unless citizens and officials alike speak out about where changes are necessary. Furthermore, town and village officials should not let budget restraints interfere with quick corrective action. We have heard that East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson has taken notice of these problems and is working to correct them. This work is to be encouraged.