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Inconvenient — but safe?

The controversial Registry of Motor Vehicles office off the Mass Pike in Charlton received a visit from state disability officials last week. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
October 04, 2009
CHARLTON — The new Registry of Motor Vehicles site needs only minor physical changes to be considered handicapped-accessible, but other concerns still need work, according to a state disability agent.

Jeffrey Dougan, Assistant Community Services Director for the state's Office on Disability, said the goal of state and federal access laws is to ensure "equal treatment" of those with disabilities.

He visited the site Thursday to look at such things as ramps, doors, space width within the building, and handicapped parking spaces.

Among those issues, he said, only two need work — addition of a couple designated spaces in the parking lot off Route 20 (four exist now in the rest area's lot) and moving a few things in the building to ensure wheelchairs have space. The long trek from the Route 20 lot isn't, by itself, discriminatory because people have the choice to use either parking area, he said. Nor is the building's lack of public restrooms; although they have to be handicapped-accessible for staff, they do not have to be open to the public.

(The Registry currently points people to the restrooms in the main building. Dougan noted people could, if necessary, drive across the lot and park in a designated spot there, but acknowledged that would be inconvenient.)

See Monday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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