County starts sticker program for those with mobility impairments

A new project of Kitsap County’s Accessible Communities Advisory Committee provides businesses, schools, places of worship, and other public spaces with an easy way to assist people with severe mobility impairments in gaining access to buildings.

These organizations are offered a sticker so the business can write down its phone number then affix it to front doors and other points of entry, a county news release says. People with disabilities can call the number to reach someone inside to request the door be opened for them.

It can have a great impact for people with disabilities and prevent them from having to wait outside – often in inclement weather.

“As a wheelchair user with brittle bones, I’ve personally found that one of the big obstacles when getting out into my community independently is a lack of accessible entrances,” said Kristie Gronberg, who brought the project to the attention of the committee, which she served on. “It’s often a struggle, and even unsafe, for me to attempt to open inaccessible doors myself, and there isn’t always someone nearby I can ask for help.

“The stickers are intended to make businesses’ contact info readily available for anyone who needs to request access or accommodations. It’s a small step towards accessibility, but I hope it helps, and that it makes local businesses more aware of their underserved customers.”

Even with the use of electronic door openers, people who are paralyzed, have muscle weakness caused by diseases such as multiple sclerosis or congenital conditions such as cerebral palsy, may need added assistance, the release states. Those with significant disabilities are highly likely to have a cell phone, as that technology enables independence that is otherwise elusive.

Everyone who has buildings accessed by the public is asked to participate in this project. Contact your local chamber of commerce for a sticker.