Everyone supports wheelchair accessibility in public spaces, right? Then what do you think about this case, where disabled activist Margie Rubin is demanding that the plans for the Washington Square Fountain be altered to allow wheelchair access INTO THE POOL? The Villager reports (best title of the week-- "Wheelchair user may sue; wants to go amphibious in the fountain"):
Margie Rubin, a resident of the Westbeth artists complex and a member of Disabled in Action — the group that forced New York City buses to add wheelchair lifts — says people in wheelchairs, like herself, or otherwise disabled, have the right to go into the fountain.
“Just say I had a child — and I had a child in the fountain and I wanted to be near them” she said.
The Parks Department is saying that no access will be provided, because no one is supposed to go into the fountain itself-- the water is recycled, so it's actually fairly polluted, and unsafe to ingest. Even if that wasn't true, should people really be taking wheelchairs into a fountain? Isn't rust an issue? What about electric wheelchairs-- aren't there electrocution dangers? Is this a case of political correctness run amok? No lawsuit has yet been filed-- let's hope that common-sense wins out here.
Related: Gothamist on the Washington Square Park Redesign, and recent developments.