Industrial buildings tell Pittsburgh’s story. Preserving them is costly and takes dedication.

In some cases, fragments of historic sites survive based on their value as industrial heritage or their adaptability into venues for culture and tourism. In a few other cases, factory sheds are reused as office or light manufacturing spaces, if they can compete in the real estate market.But most often, it seems these relics of our industrial roots are razed.

In cities like Philly, wheelchair users can easily hail an Uber or Lyft. Not in Pittsburgh.

In the Pittsburgh region, neither Uber nor Lyft, its competitor in the ride-share industry, accommodate passengers who use non-folding or motorized wheelchairs. Although Uber said its drivers are expected to accommodate riders with folding wheelchairs, walkers or canes, the company does not offer WAVs for passengers who remain in their wheelchairs for the ride.

So while Pittsburgh is a proving ground for autonomous cars — the next leap ahead in the ride-sharing industry — wheelchair-using customers who try to call a driver with their smartphone apps are left waiting on the curb.

To me, accessibility feels like an afterthought in Pittsburgh development

Having spinal muscular atrophy means that I’ve never been able to walk. I’ve used a wheelchair since I was about 3 years old. I rely on help from others for many parts of my day — bathing, getting dressed, making my meals and just generally getting around.
I still try to be independent however I can. Growing up, I went to public school and took classes with my peers. I lived in the dorms with the rest of the students in college. I work as a research coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh and am pursuing my master’s degree in public health.