Kathleen C. Collins tells the Haverhill Disabilities Commission how she found it difficult to open a door at the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority garage in Washington Square. (WHAV News photograph.)
It has been difficult for some residents to make their way from the Railroad Square parking garage to the downtown Haverhill train station.
Thanks to Washington Square resident Kathleen C. Collins, the problem got on the radar of the Haverhill Disabilities Commission, and a solution appears near. Collins gave an overview of the problem to commissioners last week.
“There’s an elevator that goes up to the bridge. It’ll say ‘Bridge.’ When you get off on the bridge, and try to open that door—if you’re in a wheelchair or a scooter and you try to open that door to go cross the bridge over to take a train—it is nearly impossible on a scooter,” Collins said.
Collins explained the heavy glass door is difficult to push open, and there is no automatic door opener.
Commission Co-Chairman Frances Hogan said she raised the matter with Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority Administrator Joseph J. Costanzo. Costanzo pledged to look into the issue and develop a solution—either adjusting the tension of the door or installing an automatic door push plate. As of Thursday, Hogan said, Costanzo was obtaining prices for a new door and related wiring.
Commissioner Joyce M. Thibodeau speculated the MVRTA garage met access requirements when it was designed, but standards may have changed.
“The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) did change in (20)10 and 12. So, that building was designed and under construction prior to the most recent changes.”
The 350-space, five-level garage was completed in April, 2011, on the contaminated, former Ted’s for Tires site.
Hogan said resolution of the door issue is one of the many ways the Commission helps residents. “We’re interested in helping people who have any kinds of challenges in the community getting out and being an active member of the community.”
Those who wish to report a concern to the Haverhill Disabilities Commission may call 978-374-2387.