Sidewalk cafes limit handicap accessibility

    Many Philadelphians are enjoying the city’s growing number of sidewalk cafes. But not everyone likes the change.

    Many Philadelphians are enjoying the city’s growing number of sidewalk cafes. But not everyone likes the change.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090708tmsidewalk.mp3]

    A survey by the Center City District counts 240 sidewalk cafe’s in the Center City area. While many take advantage of the outdoor tables in nice weather, disabled city residents say they can be problematic for those in wheelchairs. Bruce McElrath is head of the Disability Rights Advocacy Group in Philadelphia.

    McElrath: There’s one sidewalk cafe that comes to mind where we had gotten a complaint that they have tables along the wall of the building and they also have tables along the curb in front of the building and we’ve gotten several complaints that the tables are blocking the curb cuts.

    Curb cuts are essential to negotiate streets with a wheelchair. The head of the Center City District says restaurants are required to keep the sidewalks clear, and the group reaches out to those who don’t comply.

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