Press Release from Rooted in Rights.
Friday, July 24, 2020, in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the passage of the American’s with Disabilities ACT (ADA), Rooted in Rights held a press event to highlight the need for Pierce County and the City of Tacoma to come together to build the last missing link of sidewalk between the Route 3 Pierce Transit stop and the Pierce County Annex, where people with disabilities can use accessible voting machines to vote.
The announcement that the missing sidewalk link was to be built and a commitment that it would happen before the November 2020 election through a partnership between the city of Tacoma and Pierce County’s public works departments, came at the event.
“I really appreciate the city of Tacoma for building the sidewalk from the route 57 bus stop [in February]. Today I found out that Pierce County will fund the missing sidewalk on S. 35th Street. This is very exciting to me. I want to thank them for improving access to the election center,” said Blake Geyen, Rooted In Rights, whose video that shows him navigating the heavily trafficked streets prompted a new sidewalk to connect the Pierce Transit 57 bus stop to the Elections Center in February 2020.
Councilmember Marty Campbell thanked Blake and Rooted In Rights for their advocacy and highlighted the partnership that will finally improve accessibility in this area.
“We’re going to build a sidewalk that connects the Route 3 on Pine Street to the Pierce County Annex. . . . It really has been a partnership coming together to solve one of many of the access issues we have across the area,” said Campbell.
The sidewalk will be built on the north side of S. 25th Street from the existing sidewalk to the Pierce County Elections Center and Annex. The sidewalk is being built by the city of Tacoma with contributions from Pierce County.
“This is a major win for people with disabilities in Pierce County. Voting access is imperative to our democracy and not being able to physically access the building is unacceptable. I am so thankful that the team has come together to make this happen,” said transportation advocate and Tacoma city councilmember Kristina Walker.
“It’s been 30 years since the ADA became law, yet so many parts of our communities are still inaccessible to those of use with disabilities who can’t drive.” said Anna Letitia Zivarts, Program Director, Rooted in Rights, Disability Rights WA. “We wouldn’t accept gaps in our roads that left drivers unable to safely access their destinations, it’s time to build transit networks and pedestrian infrastructure that can get everyone where they need to go.”