Shared Areas create obstacles for folks with disabilities

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – It has been almost two weeks since the Shared Spaces program in San Francisco became permanent, allowing restaurants to operate on the sidewalks and streets.

While it’s great for businesses in trouble, it presents a variety of new challenges for people with mobility issues.

“I’ve noticed a lot of navigation problems,” said Allen Jones.

Allen Jones has lived in San Francisco since 1960.

Born with spina bifida, he has never been able to walk unaided and is currently using a wheelchair scooter made in Switzerland.

He says he was temporarily a fan of the Shared Space program because he knew companies needed help to stay afloat, but now it’s created an obstacle course for people like him.

“The people are nice, but they feel like we’re just in the way,” said Jones.

The Board of Directors of the City of San Francisco voted in mid-July to make the program permanent.

Although there are a variety of rules for getting straight, clear routes to travel, Jones says the way many restaurants set up their tables and chairs are not ADA compliant.

“I spend three days a week in North Beach and I tell you, it’s a mess out there. The city put a system of honor in place by allowing these companies to adhere to the ADA, and on this 31st anniversary of the ADA’s demise, I’m going to step in and say uh, no, ”said Jones.

“For more than 60 million Americans with disabilities, the ADA is so much more than a law. It is a source of opportunity, participation, independent living, and respect and dignity, ”said President Joe Biden.

President Biden celebrated the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Monday.

Jones says making sure all companies are complying with the ADA shouldn’t be a difficult task.

“There is no way this parklet program will block my path and the path of many people like me who have mobility problems,” said Jones.

Jones filed an ADA complaint with the state.

KRON4 has reached out to the San Francisco Board of Directors and the Mayor’s Disability Department regarding this matter, but has not received any feedback.

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