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National Federation of the Blind of Colorado (NFBCO)

Resolution 2021-07

Regarding an Accessible, Equitable and Inclusive Solution to Rideshare Pickup Locations at the Denver International Airport

WHEREAS, many blind people in the Denver Metro area find it most convenient and expedient to take a rideshare home from the Denver International Airport (DIA), as do blind visitors to the Denver area who may be staying in various hotel and convention locations; and

WHEREAS, until June 18, 2019, travelers arriving at DIA could meet their rideshare drivers curbside on the sixth level and, prior to that arrangement, curbside on the lower levels; and

WHEREAS, blind travelers meeting a rideshare on level 6 only needed to know which door they were nearest in order to select the proper location and to effectively communicate with their rideshare driver; and

WHEREAS, As of June 18, 2019, ride share users must now go to Level 5, Island 5, requiring travelers to cross four lanes of traffic and from there, find the zone (currently Zone H) where the rideshare driver would pick them up; and

WHEREAS, there are no tactile indicators available to help the blind traveler to maintain a straight course between the building and Island 5, let alone informing the blind traveler that an island is being crossed; and

WHEREAS, without any tactile indicators to help the blind traveler to maintain a straight course while walking across the wide traffic lanes, it is far too likely that the blind traveler will either walk along a traffic lane parallel to the wrong island or be forced to haul his/her luggage up and over the other islands; and

WHEREAS, assuming that the blind traveler does reach Island 5, there is no convenient way for him or her to determine how far to walk to reach the zone where the rideshare driver is waiting; and

WHEREAS, prior to the change made on June 18, 2019, it was far easier for a blind traveler to get from the seat of the aircraft to the seat of the rideshare vehicle, the blind traveler needing only to ask a few clarifying questions from passersby such as, “What door number is this?”; and

WHEREAS, today, it is oftentimes very difficult for the blind traveler to know if Zone H on Island 5 has been reached because passersby often are not readily available or do not know themselves the zone letter (due, apparently, to poor signage on the island); and

WHEREAS, the change made by DIA on June 18, 2019 did not involve consultation with the national Federation of the Blind of Colorado nor, so far as we can determine, with any organizations or persons informed about and committed to principles of accessibility, equity and inclusion: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado in convention assembled this 31st day of October, 2021, in the city of Lone Tree, Colorado, that this organization express its extreme frustration and disappointment with the City of Denver and the administration of the Denver International Airport (DIA) for failing to consult with the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado and the broader community of travelers with disabilities before implementing a change which ultimately makes it harder for air travelers to get rideshares at DIA; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the City of Denver and the DIA administration speedily to consult with the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado and other stakeholders within the broader disability community to find a more convenient, safer, more accessible, and more equitable method for rideshare pickups at DIA and that this procedure be one that blind travelers can implement independently with the minimum of inconvenience or need for assistance from members of the public; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization insist that the City of Denver and the DIA Administration consult with the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado and other stakeholders within the broader disability community before implementing any future changes to rideshare pickup procedures.