December 18, 2014
Holiday mailing for people with disabilities has gotten easier at two Central Vermont post offices this year. The post offices in Barre City and Worcester have made improvements that have made them more accessible to people with disabilities. This increased access came as a result of the U.S Department of Justice’s response to complaints filed by the Vermont Center for Independent Living.
The Barre Post Office now exceeds federal Architectural Barriers Act standards via a new automatic door opener at the top of the ramped entrance on Prospect Street.
“Access to public buildings is very important to people with disabilities,” said VCIL Executive Director Sarah Launderville. “The Architectural Barriers Act passed in 1968 for federal facilities, was the precursor to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 required of state and local governments and businesses. Forty-five years after ABA, people with disabilities should expect all of their post offices to provide access.”
At the Worcester Post Office, the United States Postal Service constructed a lift to provide access from the ground to the entrance and installed a marked van accessible parking space. Residents mailing packages in Worcester can also pop in for a coffee and pastry at the locally owned Post Office Café in the rear of the building.
Leslie Sabo is the co-owner of the café and owns the building that houses the eatery and post office. “We’re very happy about the work that was done,” she said. “I think it makes the entrance to both establishments much more fluid and smooth. The post office certainly made a huge improvement.”
VCIL, in addition to working to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities, serves as Vermont’s technical assistance provider on the ADA through a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).
Contact Mike Charron at VCIL (email@example.com or 802-224-1809) to learn more about civil rights responsibilities and protections.