Buffalonian Nick Heilig has created a website that helps people with disabilities and mobility constraints to navigate this city. Being in a wheelchair himself, Nick got the idea that there should be a website dedicated to people who must continually ask the questions:
Can I get in the door? Will the restrooms fit my chair? Are the aisles wide enough? Are the counters too high? How is the accessible seating at a specific venue?
These are the same questions that Nick asks, whenever he decided to head out to dinner, or to sporting events, or even to another country. Instead of tackling the bigger picture, Nick figured that he would start with his hometown. His website is called Full Access Travel.
While Nick is very concerned about issues such as Health Care Reform, he understands that those are the big fights that take time to win. Other, smaller battles, can be fought on an incremental basis, starting with simple quality of life issues – like going out to dinner to a place that is ADA* compliant.
So far, Nick has started to compile a helpful resource guide for those who are in the same boat, or chair, that he is in. Full Access Travel gives Nick a platform for talking about the ups and downs of frequenting restaurants, the waterfront, breweries, arenas, amusement parks, etc. His reviews are scored with a five wheelchair rating system called the “Wheelz” system. The higher the rating, the better the experience for Nick and his readers. Ultimately, Nick would like to be able to provide a helpful guide to all of the places that most people take for granted.
For people with disabilities and mobility constraints, there’s no point in reading a food review if they know that the building doesn’t have a ramp, or the bathroom is inaccessible to wheelchairs. Hopefully, by demonstrating that businesses are missing out on a certain customer base, owners might start to pay more attention to the ins and outs of all of all of their customers’ needs and requirements.
If Full Access Travel continues to gain traction, Nick could be part of a revolutionary grassroots movement to open all sorts of doors for those who have been waiting for a guide of this nature.
*Americans with Disabilities Act