Opinion

Letter to the Editor from David G. Lewis

I’m writing this letter to inform and update the people of Seward about an ongoing discussion that has been taking place between the Independent Living Center (ILC) of the Kenai Peninsula and the United States Postal Service. Earlier this year we received a complaint from a citizen of Seward the local post office did not have any automatic doors and that this was a problem for individuals with mobility issues, seniors, people with their hands full and young children who want to check mail. Homer, Kenai, Soldotna and Cooper Landing all have at least one automatic door, so why not Seward? This is a familiar complaint, having been lodged many years ago.

I wrote to the Seward Post Master and copied my email to Senator Murkowski’s office, Senator Micciche’s office, Tim Dillon of Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, the Senior Center of Seward and ILC’s Board President.  Basically what I heard back from the postal service was that they do not have to add automatic doors because they are in compliance with the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (ABA) and don’t have to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 & 2010 (ADA) which means as long as a door can be open with as little as five pounds of pull it is legal. I received the same response from David Christensen, Facilities Program Manager based out of Washington DC, but he did say that if a customer with a disability (or anyone else for that matter) has a problem entering/exiting the Seward Post Office, they need to request a number to call and a clerk will come and help them with the doors.

If you feel you need assistance, contact your Post Master and ask for the phone number you can call for help with the door.

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David G. Lewis, IL Advocate

Independent Living Center, Inc.

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