NY2012: Access for All!
Subject: The Coalition for an Accessible 2012 Proposal
CONTACT: Les Winter, Achilles Track Club, Tel: 212-354-0300
Chair, DNNYC Subcommittee for an Accessible NYC 2012.
The 2012 Olympics presents an opportunity to create a coalition of organizations and individuals serving people with disabilities to assist in the process that will culminate in New York City (NYC) being awarded the Summer Olympics for 2012. Since the Paralympics accompanies the Olympic games awarded to the selected city, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has an interest in representing the needs of people with disabilities by selecting a city that is sensitive to access issues. A coalition of groups interested in maximizing the potential for a successful bid wants to assure that NYC scores 100% on this issue with the IOC and that NYC is awarded the games in 2005.
The coalition partners (as yet not confirmed, as list is in formation) are The NYC Sports Commission, The Mayors Office for People with Disabilities, New York City & Company, The Disabilities Network of New York City (DNNYC) and NYC 2012.
The coalition partners propose a 2-step approach. First, the production or updating of an Access Guide to NYC, detailing accessibility to NYC for people with disabilities, including but not limited to airport transportation access, hotel access with emphasis on bathroom accessibility, sightseeing, accessible public bathroom locations, public transportation, assisting & cooperating organizations, special activities, accessible entertainment, discount opportunities, appropriate health centers, wheelchair repair outlets, etc. This Access Guide to NYC would be published with the help of corporate sponsors, to be identified. Once these services are identified & codified, the partners would establish the areas of needed improvement, determine cost estimates, set priorities, reach out to City & State responsible entities and negotiate accessibility enhancements, and finally, create a timeline for suggested improvements acceptable by all. This process will culminate in an addendum to the 2012 submission to the IOC.
The IOC will announce the venue for the 2012 Olympics in 2005. The deliverables must be completed before this date, after which their leverage significantly diminishes regardless of whether NYC is selected or not. After that date, the use of the Olympic bid process to leverage accessibility terminates.
We propose making the Paralympic Marathon, the final event of the Olympics, a mainstreaming event that includes people with and without disabilities in a perimeter Marathon Around Manhattan. This initiative could become an annual activity that will feature people with disabilities in a second NYC Marathon, The Manhattan Marathon. With 80,000 applicants for the NYC Marathon and only about 30,000 acceptances, this event would have a substantial economic development impact on New York City and be a source of significant positive press.