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MPC Hosts Accessible Transportation Workshop; Forms Regional Coalition

October 19, 2011 | More News

Accessible Transportation Workshop

The Knoxville region was selected by the Easter Seals Project Action organization as one of 10 communities across the United States to participate in the 2011 Accessible Transportation Coalitions Initiative (ATCI). Funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, the goal of ATCI is to promote cooperation between the transportation industry and the disability community to increase mobility for people with disabilities.

ATCI is a one-year process designed to support systems change at the local level. To start this process, representatives of Easter Seals Project Action, headquartered in Washington D.C., came to Knoxville to facilitate a two-day workshop. A team consisting of the Metropolitan Planning Commission's transportation staff, City of Knoxville, Knoxville Area Transit (KAT), Knoxville Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC), Knox County CAC Transit, and the East Tennessee Human Resources Agency (ETHRA) worked together to prepare the original grant and coordinate the workshop.

The workshop had several purposes:

  1. Update the Knoxville Regional Human Services Transportation Coordination Plan
  2. Establish a coalition or advocacy group for accessible transportation
  3. Facilitate group discussion around the urgent issues for accessible transportation
  4. Provide technical assistance regarding best practices to reach solutions
  5. Teach, through example, a community change process with which the coalition can continue to develop strategies to affect positive change in the future.

The workshop was held at the John T. O'Connor Senior Citizens Center on September 20th and 21st. In addition to the Project Action staff, approximately 25 people attended. Participants identified several issues concerning accessible transportation facing the Knoxville region:

  1. Increase the number of general transit services and programs for transporting people who are disabled
  2. Improve the coordination of existing transit services
  3. Establish dedicated funding for transit services
  4. Improve existing or construct new accessible pathways, including sidewalks, streets, greenways, and bus stops
  5. Educate riders regarding the availability of transportation services, including passenger rights and their responsibilities
  6. Make transportation planning, especially transit and pedestrian planning, an integral part of community planning and growth processes
  7. Provide assistance for people who may need someone to help them with their trip
  8. Increase the availability of accessible taxis
  9. Provide help for families with older adults who are preparing to stop driving soon.

Participants of the workshop agreed to form a coalition and to continue to meet to help solve the identified issues. It is anticipated that a report on the workshop will be prepared. In the meantime, all of the material associated with the workshop is included on MPC transportation staff's website at www.knoxtrans.org.

Easter Seals Project Action will provide additional technical support to the coalition for a year, which has agreed to continue to meet to examine needs of the disability community.

Contact Doug Burton at MPC if you are interested in attending a coalition meeting (doug.burton@knoxmpc.orgor 865-215-3824).

For more information on Easter Seals Project Action go to www.projectaction.easterseals.com.

Posted 10-19-2011, written by Doug Burton