A Look at Accessibility in Atlanta

A wheelchair user describes what it's like to travel on Atlanta streets and on the city's public transit system.

December 28, 2019, 5:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink

Wheelchair Ramp

FANKS / Shutterstock

Jennifer Rainey Marquez is a disability advocate living in Atlanta who uses a power wheelchair to get around. She says as her muscular disorder progressed, she became more aware of how urban design affected her ability to navigate the city.

"In Atlanta, the sidewalks are really good in some places and really bad in others. There are sidewalk closures, missing curb cuts, and crumbling concrete. I push e-scooters out of the way or pick them up when they’re blocking sidewalks or curb ramps," says Marquez.

She also uses public transportation in Atlanta. The station elevators and accessible train platforms and bus ramps mean she is able to board vehicles and is not limited to particular routes or stops. For her, the MARTA system actually stands out in comparison to other cities. "In a lot of cities, the trains are older, the platforms are older, there’s no elevator," notes Marquez.

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