One woman demands reasonable wheelchair access to her local post office

Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) – Jean-Marie Lawrence said when she first arrived at the downtown Chattanooga Post Office on Georgia Ave., she found steps at the front of the building but no signs for an accessible ramp.

"I was unable to get my mail myself. I really felt like an unwanted piece of junk mail. There was no way to get into the building," said Lawrence, "When I went around the back of the building all I saw was a service entrance, and no way to access the service entrance ramp, so I thought this must be a mistake."

Lawrence said that’s when she asked for help. She said she found someone coming out of the building and asked if they could find an employee to assist her, "The post office employee refused to come out, because they were apparently the only person working in the post office that day."

With no entrance to the front of the building, and only a steep service entrance in the back that’s impossible to access, Lawrence said she asked once again for the employee to come out, but was denied. That’s when Lawrence turned to the Chattanooga Police Department who stepped in to help.

"Nobody in 2015 should have to enter through a steep service entrance and then not even be able to access it," said Lawrence.

"There’s just no excuse for it," said disability advocate and consultant, Jill Hindman, "I mean yes she could go to a different post office, but there are other items going on in that building. She needs to be able to get there."

Lawrence has already filed a complaint with both the City Attorney’s Office and the U-S Access Board, and said she doesn’t plan on stopping until a serious change is made.

Categories: Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Local News

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