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.

“The lesson I learned is you don’t have to go anywhere to travel,” said Ariam Ford, the keynote speaker for the third annual student sustainability conference at Chatham, Seeds of Change, in front of a picture of her current home in Pittsburgh “It’s daunting, but the best thing you can do is to start at home.” (Photo by Oliver Morrison/PublicSource)

Students across Pittsburgh learn lesson in sustainability: It’s hard to create public spaces for everyone

More than 100 students of all ages, from public, private and charter schools, traveled across the Pittsburgh region to Chatham University’s bucolic Eden Hall campus 20 miles north of the city. They were presenting sustainability projects they had implemented in their schools and communities for the third annual Seeds of Change: Igniting Student Action for Sustainable Community Conference.