I am opposed to making changes to the Ped Mall benches in Iowa City for the following reasons:
1. The city provided an opportunity for citizens’ input, at which anybody that wanted to attend and see the proposed project could and citizens were offered the opportunity to offer suggestions.
2. The city has opposed sleeping in the library and should enforce it on the Ped Mall as well.
3. The artistically painted benches have not been removed (as of this writing) and should remain. They don’t have the middle bar impeding full use of the bench.
4. Lying on benches takes up all of the bench and others aren’t able to use any part of the bench.
5. Lastly, the cost to the city and our residents shouldn’t be absorbed in the project budget, recognizing all residents of the city, including churches and nonprofit organizations, had the opportunity early on to make the suggestions that are being made now.
I wish city leaders well in their decision. Perhaps in the future the residents, churches, and nonprofit organizations will attend focus groups on other projects and pay close attention, keeping in mind the constituents they serve and represent. Being an advocate for people with disabilities gives me the opportunity to make certain that the construction of the Ped Mall project is user friendly and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991.