Friday, June 9, 2017

Vocational Rehabilitation plans public hearing far from public transportation



Cordova Library more than a mile from a bus stop


By Christina Clift
On June 9, 2017 MCIL staff notified Joel Blackford about our concerns over the location of the public hearing in Memphis for Vocational Rehabilitation scheduled for June 27, 2017.  As it stands currently, the public meeting is being held in a location not accessible by public transportation. In fact, it is more than a mile from the closest bus stop.

Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VR) is part of the state’s Disability Services and provides a variety of individualized services to persons with disabilities in preparation for their employment in the competitive labor market. But the choice of the Cordova Library seems to limit the participation from the people they intend to serve. Paratransit, the accessible service that runs alongside the Memphis public transit service, will only travel three-quarters of a mile from the current fixed-route system to provide additional accessibility. MATAplus will not serve the location that VR selected for the hearing.

Sidewalk ends on the route to the Cordova Library south view
The library site is more than a mile from the nearest bus stop on Germantown Parkway. If someone was to take public transit, not only would they have to walk more than a mile, but there are no sidewalks in sections along the route on Trinity Road. On both sides of the street, divided by a median, the sidewalk just ends.

Four Vocational Rehabilitation draft policies are currently available for public review and comment, they include: 
Comments on these policies can be sent to Joel Blackford by email at Joel.Blackford@tn.gov, by phone at (615) 313-4898, or by mail to 400 Deaderick Street, 12th Floor, Nashville, TN 37243. Comments will be received until close of business July 13, 2017.

If Vocational Rehabilitation truly wants public input regarding changes in policy, they must hold the meetings where potential and existing clients can attend.  Unless the decision is changed the meeting will be held at the Cordova Library located at 8457 Trinity Road at 4:00 PM on June 27, 2017. 

If you believe that this meeting should be moved to a location accessible to all,  contact Joel Blackford at (615) 313-4898 or by e-mail at joel.blackford@tn.gov and ask them to move the meeting so that all voices can be heard.
Route to the Cordova Library sidewalk ends north view