7 of the Most Wheelchair-Friendly Cities in the U.S.
Cities across the U.S. have been making significant efforts to make their streets, parks, facilities, and public transportation accessible to everyone. It is important to realize that there is still a lot of work to be done in these cities and in cities everywhere, and that no two wheelchair user’s needs are the same. However, these 7 cities consistently rank among the most wheelchair-friendly in the United States!
1. Seattle, WA
Researchers across the board find Seattle to be making extra effort to be accessible for wheelchair users. With accessible transit systems, attractions, and ferries available across Seattle, visitors and residents alike can enjoy much of what Seattle has to offer. In addition, emphasis that has been placed on universal design across the city, and the number of physicians, rehab centers, and accessible fitness facilities put Seattle on top.
2. Albuquerque, NM
Sunny days and fresh air put Albuquerque on the map for wheelchair friendliness, since wheelchair users don’t often have to worry about getting through dangerous snow or ice. Popular events and attractions (including beautiful nature trails) are, for the most part, accessible. The city bus system is completely accessible, and the Sun Van Paratransit Service can get you where you need to be. Top-notch hospitals in the area seal the deal for wheelchair friendliness in Albuquerque!
3. Reno, NV
Wheelchair users in Reno are given discounted public transport passes that makes it even easier to enjoy the warm (and dry) climate! There are countless resources available for wheelchair users, including rehab centers, physicians, accessible housing, and more. In addition, RTC ACCESS is a paratransit service run by the city that provides door-to-door pre-scheduled transportation for anyone who isn’t able to use the rest of the city’s public transportation.
4. Portland, OR
Portland’s buses, MAX light rail trains, streetcars, and the TriMet Lift service provide wheelchair users with countless options for transportation around the city! Attractions such as museums, nature trails, parks, the zoo, and more are accessible, though many areas of the city may be a challenge for manual wheelchair users. Like any city, Portland has many improvements to make, and the local city government is sponsoring a task force to assess the city for ADA compliance.
5. San Francisco, CA
Virtually all of San Francisco’s public transport is accessible (except, unfortunately, their historic cable cars), so getting around the hilly city isn’t as difficult as it would seem. That being said, power wheelchair users will probably have an easier time navigating the city streets. Top attractions such as Alcatraz, the Fisherman’s Wharf, and AT&T Park (where the San Francisco Giants play) are all accessible to wheelchairs.
6. Boston, MA
Boston’s unique historic atmosphere is one of its biggest obstacles for wheelchair users: cobbled streets and inaccessible historic buildings can make things difficult. However, the city has recently made great strides in becoming wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair users can enjoy the Freedom Trail, Boston’s famed Duck Tours, Fenway Park, the New England Aquarium, and much more. All of Boston’s buses are wheelchair accessible.
7. Chicago, IL
Most of Chicago’s top attractions, baseball fields, and its transit system are accessible to wheelchair users. The University of Illinois is currently working on a Healthy Community Mapping System, to identify the accessibility of buildings, facilities, sidewalks, stores, and more. Chicagoans also enjoy the annual Disability Pride Parade, and city has a close-knit and very supportive disabled community.
Whether you’re living in one of these cities or just planning a vacation, remember that your local 101 Mobility is here to help you have the best mobility experience possible!
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/08/25/10-tips-for-caregivers-from-caregivers/?sf30296394=1
Boots N All Travel Guide: http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/11-03/wheelchair-friendly-cities-to-visit-now.html
New Mobility Magazine: http://www.newmobility.com/2013/10/disability-friendly-cities-7-places-worth-effort/