Lorain County Transit- an unacceptable situation

June 29, 2012 at 7:32 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

This went out to the Lorain Morning Journal, Leap (in an abbreviated format), The Lorain county Commissioners and Lorain County transit this morning since I couldn’t get accessible transportation to a meeting to discuss accessible transportation — shakes head —

TDear able bodied County Commissioners, newspaper people, transit folks…to whom this letter is addressed:

Imagine you woke up tomorrow and there were no cars. You didn’t have one, your neighbor didn’t have one, your cousin in Vermillion didn’t have one.

Also no bikes, vespas, or motorcycles. No highway transport of any kind, except for the occasional delayed and underfunded ambulance.

So you could get to medical care sometimes.

But what is the list of things you are completely unable to do?

If groceries aren’t close, that’s shot. What about your pharmacy?

(By accident of location, I am close enough to banking, pharmacy, groceries, and my church to get there in the warm weather….but what about inclement weather, and what about the folk in the county who aren’t as fortunate???)

What about clothing, shoes, or dental care? Glasses?

Never mind the out of reach luxury of visiting friends, taking in a movie, or going to the park. Out to dinner? Forget about it.

That’s the kind of life that many many people with disabilities live in Lorain County right now, and have since 2009 when paratransit and fixed transit disappeared from everywhere in Lorain County except Lorain and Elyria in 2009. (With some exceptions that I’ll detail in a moment.)

It’s important to note also that except for contracted Medicaid HMO services, taxi service is basically contracted out, filled up and unavailable to residents for trips on weekday mornings or afternoons during the school year.

And please don’t bring out that tired old saw: “We don’t have that problem in Lorain County…I never see any folks with disabilities in my business anyway so it’s not my problem.”

The *reason* you don’t see us spending our time or money in your businesses,houses of worship, or homes, folks….is because we *cannot get to them.* If we cannot get to then, how would you ever be able to accurately grasp the scope of the problem?

Some of us do not have friends or family with accessible transport that can step in. It’s not like there’s a lift van in every garage.

We cannot walk where we need to go.

We cannot defray some of our own “cost” to society as we would very much like to do, by full or part time employment, because how in the heck do we get there? One of my neighbors lost a cool job because her transport source became inaccessible to her.

There was a meeting last week for us to voice our opinions about this. Be heard.

Irony of Ironies,

Couldn’t get there to talk about why I couldn’t get there,,,,,

Now….

People on Medicaid waiver do have access to medical transport, At a ridiculously high cost to the state per person per ride….incredibly higher than using a county wide paratransit system if it still existed.

There is a service called Goodwheels, and I salute them for the work they’ve tried to do.

But all they have is a car, and any wheelchair bound person who cannot manage that is out of luck….also you have a hard time booking a trip for when you need to go, since it needs to be at least three weeks out. They *had* two wheelchair accessible vans. No one’s been willing to get those repaired. There are /were also fixed route accessible busses sitting in a lot somewhere, a leftover stimulus purchase from 2009 that *never got used* due to the cuts.

This makes me sick.

There is Rideshare for possible commuting, but again, that’s limited to those who can get into a car.

Cities have community transport vehicles (Avon lake and Avon for example) but we share those resources with seniors, and like Goodwhieels, you have to book a trip at least three weeks out if you have the temerity to use a wheelchair.

In the winter, it’s the worst of all. Made much more homebound by the weather than by our impairments….such a state of body mind and spirit ultimately ends up costing the state more in Medicaid, Medicare or indigent medical dollars because if you’re stuck at home for three months at a time, you might not have the best physical and mental outcomes…

I cannot stress the financial side of this enough. There’ve been studies that indicate that *even* if a person with disabilities is unable to work, the consistent medical follow up, the access to dental and vision care facilities, the mental health benefits of socialization, enough clothes, shoes to get by….the right food…

…end up *saving the state Medicaid dollars in the long run.*

For my part of the county, an accessible dial a ride circulator running three days a week would ease this tremendously….say something that began at Detroit and Abbe linking it to existing LCT routes, , connected up to route 83, served Wal Mart, the library, the Avon Lake Cleveland Clinic Branch, Independence Village, Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio (Lear and Walker Rd’s) some houses of worship, and the Richard E Jacobs Health Center at 33100 Cleveland Clinic Boulevard (once the Lear Road construction is finished the route would be much more direct….and head out of county to end at Detroit and Crocker and connect up with existing RTA routes without the fruitless attempt to ask Cuyahoga county to recreate a route the’ve cut. Avon and Avon Lake community transport try, but they simply don’t have enough accessible transport space—one van with one spot. And they often have seervices at times when members of the community are unable to use them. If that service could be replaced by a circulator that ran on a every two hours schedule….it would be an amazing start.

I’m unfamiliar with county geography west of Lorain, but folks on that side are suffering the same deficits in ability to move about their lives.

LCT should be tweaked just a little to include Sheffield Vistas as a direct stop on their existing routes as well….there wouldn’t be much cost to that, and it would open up access more fully for those residents

There are also senior/disabled facilities up on Lake Rd that could be served….

Where’s the money???

Well first….continue to *repair * roads of course, but please stop beautifying them for awhile and use those funds to help assure some transit access for those of us unable to drive.

In other words, make sure we can all *use* them before you pretty them up.

Second, readjust your thinking. This is not a “want” this is a definite need. If someone sent me a précis of the budget I’d be happy to debate some “want”s Id find in it that are less important than making sure that all of Lorain County’s citizens can get around in Lorain County.

If we are to be able to handle the activities of daily living, fully exercise our rights to freedom of worship and liberty, if liberty means the freedom to move about one’s own life, then that is a job that *someone* has to step up and do.

Spread the word, please, because many of us cannot.

I thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Jean M. Flynn

Avon Lake

betwixtandbetween@gmail.com

Dear able bodied County Commissioners, newspaper people, transit folks…to whom this letter is addressed:

Imagine you woke up tomorrow and there were no cars. You didn’t have one, your neighbor didn’t have one, your cousin in Vermillion didn’t have one.

Also no bikes, vespas, or motorcycles. No highway transport of any kind, except for the occasional delayed and underfunded ambulance.

So you could get to medical care sometimes.

But what is the list of things you are completely unable to do?

If groceries aren’t close, that’s shot. What about your pharmacy?

I’m one of the lucky ones. By accident of location I am close to church, banking, pharmacy, and groceries.)

What about clothing, shoes, or dental care? Glasses?

Never mind the out of reach luxury of visiting friends, taking in a movie, or going to the park. Out to dinner? Forget about it.

That’s the kind of life that many many people with disabilities live in Lorain County right now, and have since 2009 when paratransit and fixed transit disappeared from everywhere in Lorain County except Lorain and Elyria in 2009. (With some exceptions that I’ll detail in a moment.)

And please don’t bring out that tired old saw: “We don’t have that problem in Lorain County…I never see any folks with disabilities in my business anyway so it’s not my problem.”

The *reason* you don’t see us spending our time or money in your businesses,houses of worship, or homes, folks….is because we *cannot get to them.* If we cannot get to then, how would you ever be able to accurately grasp the scope of the problem?

Some of us do not have friends or family with accessible transport that can step in. It’s not like there’s a lift van in every garage.

We cannot walk where we need to go.

We cannot defray some of our own “cost” to society as we would very much like to do, by full or part time employment, because how in the heck do we get there? One of my neighbors lost a cool job because her transport source became inaccessible to her.

There was a meeting last week for us to voice our opinions about this. Be heard.

Irony of Ironies,
Couldn’t get there to talk about why I couldn’t get there,,,,,

Now….

People on Medicaid waiver do have access to medical transport, At a ridiculously high cost to the state per person per ride…incredibly higher than using a county wide paratransit system if it still existed.

There is a service called Goodwheels, and I salute them for the work they’ve tried to do.
But all they have is a car, and any wheelchair bound person who cannot manage that is out of luck….also you have a hard time booking a trip for when you need to go, since it needs to be at least three weeks out. They *had* two wheelchair accessible vans. No one’s been willing to get those repaired. There are /were also fixed route accessible busses sitting in a lot somewhere, a leftover stimulus purchase from 2009 that *never got used* due to the cuts.

This makes me sick.

There is Rideshare for possible commuting, but again, that’s limited to those who can get into a car.

Cities have community transport vehicles (Avon lake and Avon for example) but we share those resources with seniors, and like Goodwhieels, you have to book a trip at least three weeks out if you have the temerity to use a wheelchair.

In the winter, it’s the worst of all. Made much more homebound by the weather than by our impairments….such a state of body mind and spirit ultimately ends up costing the state more in Medicaid, Medicare or indigent medical dollars because if you’re stuck at home for three months at a time, you might not have the best physical and mental outcomes…

I cannot stress the financial side of this enough. There’ve been studies that indicate that *even* if a person with disabilities is unable to work, the consistent medical follow up, the access to dental and vision care facilities, the mental health benefits of socialization, enough clothes, shoes to get by….the right food…

…end up *saving the state Medicaid dollars in the long run.*

For my part of the county, an accessible dial a ride circulator running three days a week would ease this tremendously….say something that began at Detroit and Abbe linking it to existing LCT routes, , connected up to route 83, served Wal Mart, the library, the Avon Lake Cleveland Clinic Branch, Independence Village, Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio (Lear and Walker Rd’s) some houses of worship, and the Richard E Jacobs Health Center at 33100 Cleveland Clinic Boulevard (once the Lear Road construction is finished the route would be much more direct….and head out of county to end at Detroit and Crocker and connect up with existing RTA routes without the fruitless attempt to ask Cuyahoga county to recreate a route the’ve cut. Avon and Avon Lake community transport try, but they simply don’t have enough accessible transport space—one van with one spot. And they often have seervices at times when members of the community are unable to use them. If that service could be replaced by a circulator that ran on a every two hours schedule….it would be an amazing start.

LCT should be tweaked just a little to include Sheffield Vistas as a direct stop on their existing routes as well….there wouldn’t be much cost to that, and it would open up access more fully for those residents

There are also senior/disabled facilities up on Lake Rd that could be served….

Where’s the money???

Well first….continue to *repair * roads of course, but please stop beautifying them for awhile and use those funds to help assure some transit access for those of us unable to drive.
In other words, make sure we can all *use* them before you pretty them up.

Second, readjust your thinking. This is not a “want” this is a definite need. If someone sent me a précis of the budget I’d be happy to debate some “want”s Id find in it that are less important than making sure that all of Lorain County’s citizens can get around in Lorain County.

If we are to be able to handle the activities of daily living, fully exercise our rights to freedom of worship and liberty, if liberty means the freedom to move about one’s own life, then that is a job that *someone* has to step up and do.

Spread the word, please, because many of us cannot.
I thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Jean M. Flynn

Avon Lake

betwixtandbetween@gmail.com

.

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