On Saturday December 7, 2019, the first two students from the Dorchester Career & Technology Center (DCTC), under a new program of collaboration between city and school system, started the survey of the city’s sidewalks, verifying their compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Design Standards for Accessibility from the Department of Justice.
Amanda Bair and Aamna Alvi are shown here documenting a significant uplift and settlement of a sidewalk slab, which would constitute an obstruction to the path and access of a person with disabilities. They were accompanied and monitored by two members of the Cambridge ADA Committee, Patty Kaczmarek and Tom Puglisi, there to provide safety, but also additional training and information when required.
The students are using a Geographic Information Systems app developed by city employee Scott Shores. The Geographic Information Systems (also known as GIS) is a software program widely used in various practical business data analysis applications. Education about the issues facing people with disabilities, as well as the use of technology such as GIS, provide the students with both a window into their future as members of society and valuable training as young professionals.
Nine DCTC students are currently enrolled in this program, a partnership between the City of Cambridge and Dorchester County Public Schools (DCPS). Superintendent Dave Bromwell, and city employee Herve Hamon, together with Commissioner Dave Cannon and ADA Committee Chair Jerry Burroughs, struck an agreement that formalizes the hours needed to survey the entire city and give the enrolled students credit in the form of Community Service Hours, necessary for their graduation.
This endeavor is expected to be completed by the students in May 2020 and will lead to a full report on the status of Cambridge sidewalks. That report will in turn be presented to the City Council and become the basis to apply for State funding for infrastructure and street improvements.