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Accessible Algarve

Accessibility on Human Rights Day.

Dec 10th is Human Rights Day, observed to mark the adoption in 1948 by the UN of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On Human Rights day in 2021 Constance and I were two of thirty people invited to participate in a meeting of Europe Direct in Faro. The meeting was a discussion of the Future of Democracy in Europe.  We were invited because our continuing advocacy for equal rights for people with reduced mobility (PWRM) in the Algarve is being noticed. 

Accessible Buses in Lagos?

The local bus service in Lagos is named A Onda or translated the Wave. There are ten lines each having its own color. When Constance and I first visited Lagos in 2011 we were very happy to use the local buses to explore the area. We got a bus card that could be topped up with journeys and visted local beaches and nearby villages. We did note that the service did not run very late into the evenings, exept in July and August. All in all the A Onda is a very good bus service.

When we moved to Lagos permanently  in 2013 Constance had begun to develop mobilty issues. One of the factors in our decison to move here was that the buses were accessible to people with reduced mobilty, each bus fitted with a ramp to bring a wheelchair on board. 

Praia da Luz Access

Life is a Beach. Enjoying a day at the beach begins with getting to the beach. Great bus lines (Aonda) www.aonda.pt in Lagos include routes that will drop you right on the beach. If you use a wheelchair the buses have ramps that let you board and exit. Unfortunately even small mobility scooters are prohibited on the buses, even though they could easily fit on the larger buses. The Aonda drivers range from very helpful to downright rude and unprofessional. It is best to have a companion along to help solve any problems.

Praia da Luz has a wonderful set on the beach and a ramp for people with reduced mobility (PWRD) to access a tent with three or four different water chairs set up underneath.

The train steps are dangerous for everyone, impossible for disabled passengers

Demand Accessible Trains

The Portuguese National Assembly (Parliament) will begin to debate a new National Railway Plan beginning in April.

We have sent the email below to the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Pedro Nuno Santos, the Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities  Ana Sofia Tunes, the Secretary of State for Infrastructure Jorge Delgado.   We also sent a more personalized version to our M.P. Maria Joaquina Matos, former Lagos Mayor.

This is the entrance to the space where public meetings are held

Algarve Accessibility Survey Results Update

Attendance and participation by members the public at government meetings is a basic and essential part of democracy. To exclude people with reduced mobility is illegal, discriminatory and anti democratic. Everyone’s voice counts!

In Portugal a law was passed in 2006 that required buildings where public meetings are held to be accessible to people with disabilities. Old buildings had a deadline of February 2017 to comply with this legislation. To read the law please click https://dre.pt/dre/detalhe/decreto-lei/163-2006-538624

We wanted to find out if the buildings and rooms in the Algarve where public meetings are held are complying with the law and are accessible to people with reduced mobility. So we conducted a survey.

News From The Provedora de Justiça

In May 2020 Constance Houck filed a claim to make the official meetings of the municipal assembly of Lagos accessible to people with disabilities. The meeting are held on the second floor of the old municipal building in the center of Lagos. There are two flights of very steep stairs to access the meeting room and no elevator, so people with reduced mobility are effectively prohibited from participating in local government meetings.

The letter we received from the Provedora references a commitment made by the President of the municipality of Lagos to make the building accessible to everyone and or move the meetings to a venue that can be accessible to everyone.

Before: dangerous curb at pedestrian crossing

Update! Lagos is improving accessibility

When we won our accessibility budget proposal in 2018 (Please see the Winning and Waiting blog https://www.accessiblealgarve.com/winning-then-waiting-lagos-budget-proposal. We were delighted the voters had approved improvements to pedestrian crossings in a neighborhood in Lagos.

We are even happier today as the City has completed roadworks in a greater area than we had proposed and has taken on board suggestions we made to the city architect.

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