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SP31 Level 9
Level 9

RECAP: Accessible Miami [WAW]

I joined @EmekaHouse and many other great Local Guides around the world to take part in the Worldwide Accessibility Walk (WAW) - I participated from Miami, Florida, specifically Little Havana - a community in Miami where the population is majority Cuban and Cuban-American, but it draws visitors and locales from the city and around the World on a daily basis. 

 

I focused our efforts on the most popular stretch of road in the neighborhood, that road being Calle Ocho, which means 8th Street. Being that Sundays are usually a bit more quieter on this stretch (aside from one particular festive day), I decided to hold the walk on Saturday, December 1. Although I was the only one in attendance for this walk, it proved to be an eye-opening adventure and provided a lot of opportunities to recognize which businesses are taking steps towards accessibility. 

 

I started at one of Little Havana's most well known attractions and spots for local residents to meet, which was Maximo Gomez Park, aka Domino Park. As the name states, you can expect to see many locals meeting up here to play dominoes and having their cafecitos (Cuban espresso). I noticed a ton of pick-up, drop-off, and tour buses in this area and a number of tourists, which made me realize even more how inclusiveness and accessibility is important for this area of Miami considering the variety of visitors. 

 

callesign.jpg

 

The first place I spotted after parking before getting to the Domino Park 1) wasn't listed on Maps and 2) did not have a true accessible entry, so I decided to add it to Maps and make that notation. 

 

salon.jpgAdded to Maps and marked the lack of accessibility.

As I went through the walk, I noticed that since many of these buildings and shops were constructed many decades ago, that the majority of them were established without accessibility in mind. In the photo below, you could see an example of a store that began without a ramp and added a ramp to their main entrance. I realized this was a situation that plagued many of the shops on this main stretch of road. 

lh4.jpgAdded ramp on left, no ramp on right.

I also noticed that while thankfully there were wheelchair ramps built into the crosswalks, there were virtually no accessible street spots available. While there were accessible parking spots in some of the main plazas, they were all occupied. Therefore, there were no safe street parking spots for those with accessibility placards. The road itself is three lanes moving in a one way direction, and space is tight enough as it is. If someone needed to exit their vehicle using a wheelchair, this would be virtually impossible due to the limited space and lack of resources for those vehicles who need the space.

 

lh3.jpgAccessible crosswalks, but no accessible parking spaces on the main road or around.

 

A great thing about Little Havana and Calle Ocho is the amount of beautiful art and buildings to see. I saw so much during my walk. Below you can see some of my favorite examples, which includes the Roosters of Calle Ocho.

 

chickens.jpgart.jpg

 lh6.jpg

 

 

I did happen to find a couple of unfortunate examples of places without any sort of accessibility options for those who may be immobile. One was a plaza with only stairs, and upon further inspection, there were no elevators available. The second building (consisting of two businesses) had stairs on each end, and a high ridge at the front entrance that would make it very difficult for someone in a wheelchair to enter. I even took a photo of a vehicle with a handicap placard in front of that very business to show the inconvenience that it may provide if that individual was going to that location. 

lh1.jpgNo elevator.lh5.jpgTwo businesses without reasonable accommodations for those who may need them.

There was only one instance in which a business had a raised entrance but happened to have a sign that had the accessible sign (see below).

lh2.jpgRaised entrance, but an attempt to assist those who need help.

The accessible sign was in Spanish, but when translated says "if you need assistance entering, please call us." So while it has the old construction without the addition of a ramp, this was their way of being compliant. This example prompted me to enter the business and have a chat with one of the associates. While the language barrier was definitely there as my Spanish isn't too well, I was able to share my thoughts with the associate and a manager about maybe implementing a ramp like some other establishments had. 

 

And of course, before heading out, I had to make a stop at one of the donut shops I've been dying to try, Velvet Creme Donuts! You can check out my review and photos here :) .

 

donuts.jpgThis made me tear up :')

 

Overall, taking part in this Worldwide Meetup was an eye-opening opportunity and showed me that not only are there still a lot of businesses out there that could use the enlightenment in regards to accessibility, it showed me that there are still a lot of edits that can be made to maps in regards to accessibility to help others, and that we can really use the feature suggestion option for each location to help those individuals out by providing accurate information as well. Despite instances in which businesses did not provide it, I was happy to see an overwhelming majority of local and nationwde businesses that had implemented ramps.

 

Thanks so much for the opportunity @EmekaHouse@TraciC, and Local Guides!

 

Miami, FL | Communicator | My Profile | Miami Local Guides
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Miami, FL, USA
22 comments
Kashifmisidia Level 10
Level 10

Re: RECAP: Accessible Miami [WAW]

That is marvelous recap @SP31 ,

Thanks a lot for raising your voice for all those who are in the real need of ♿ accessibility. Love for our community is something that rises from the bottoms of our heart where we are part of.

Keep it up bro 👍👍👍

SP31 Level 9
Level 9

Re: RECAP: Accessible Miami [WAW]

Thanks so much, @Kashifmisidia! You're absolutely right, that love is a force that drives us to be motivated and do a lot of what we do - all in the name of helping others! I sincerely appreciate your words of encouragement.

Miami, FL | Communicator | My Profile | Miami Local Guides
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Zainabzy_ Level 6
Level 6

Re: RECAP: Accessible Miami [WAW]

@SP31 well done. I'm certain your discoveries will go a long way. Also, I am glad that you did not feel discouraged with the turn-up, says a lot about your enthusiasm and determination. Keep it up :-)

Cheers,
Zainab!
EmekaHouse Level 9
Level 9

Re: RECAP: Accessible Miami [WAW]

Havana ooh NaNaNa 🎶♩😊

@SP31 👏👏👏👏👏 Your analysis is straight like a pro!

Wow, this Cuban Community looks lovely, the building style, aesthetic and Roosters too.

Calle Ocho sure has some traces of accessibility and that is quite encouraging.

Thumbs up for going to speak to the manager of Bakery for having an accessibility sign without being truly accessible. You are the Hero!

Did he show you a mobile ramp for this purpose? Because I see the yellow paint on the entrance.

 

You sure deserve a craft doughnut. They look yummy too.

Thank you for advocating and exploring Little Havana! I am proud of what you have done Steve 🙌🙌

SP31 Level 9
Level 9

Re: RECAP: Accessible Miami [WAW]

Thanks so much, @Zainabzy_! I definitely was not, in part due to some inspiration from @PriyankaU and how she continued with her meet-up although no one showed up. Our contributions still matter despite the turn out, and this cause was very motivating! 

 

Looking forward to your recap of your Violence Against Women meetup!

Miami, FL | Communicator | My Profile | Miami Local Guides
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SP31 Level 9
Level 9

Re: RECAP: Accessible Miami [WAW]

Hahaha, @EmekaHouse! Glad you caught that piece of art! :D 

Thanks so much - I really tried to channel what you've taught me and many others through this experience. It certainly does seem like many businesses are on their way, hopefully, to making a point of addressing these issues. They did not mention a mobile ramp but that would have been a great point to mention to them as they just help lift chairs over the ridge, which can actually be dangerous depending. The yellow paint was moreso to assure that people do not trip over the ridge. If I'm ever in the neighborhood again, I will suggest that. 

 

I really appreciate your words, bro. They mean a lot to me!

Miami, FL | Communicator | My Profile | Miami Local Guides
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Zainabzy_ Level 6
Level 6

Re: RECAP: Accessible Miami [WAW]

@SP31 I completely agree with you. And yes, re-cap in a few hours, thank you!

Cheers,
Zainab!
Magbagbeola Level 7
Level 7

Re: RECAP: Accessible Miami [WAW]

@SP31

Nice recap

SP31 Level 9
Level 9

Re: RECAP: Accessible Miami [WAW]

Thanks bro @Magbagbeola!

Miami, FL | Communicator | My Profile | Miami Local Guides
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