BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — For Dominic Anthony of East Haven, every day has it’s challenges. He is a disabled veteran.
“Going back to the Vietnam era, I was a flight mechanic and I fell off a ladder working on a plane,” says Anthony.
During his trips to some of the new rest stops along i95, he found another set of challenges. There were many amenities like ramps for his chair and places to eat inside, but getting through the doors was difficult. There were no push plates that open doors automatically.
“It’s very difficult especially on a windy day like today,” said Anothony. “And, if you have trouble with your arms to begin with and then when the door slams into the back of your chair when you’re going in, you have to worry about it breaking your chair.”
News 8 did some checking, those push plates are not required by state law if a building is under 50 thousand square feet.
Conn DOT tells us their new rest areas aren’t that large. So, push plates are not required.
ConnDOT’s Communications Director, Kevin Nursick sent us this statement, “All of the state’s 23 service plazas meet or exceed ADA (Americans with Disabilites Act) requirements in every regard.”
Disability Advocate, Michelle Duprey, says state law and ADA standards outline the minimum requirements for a building. She says push plates could help many people including the million aging baby boomers in CT.
“Whether it’s a veteran, somebody that’s elderly, a mother with a big stroller and a toddler in tow, it ends up being usable for a lot of people,” said Duprey. “So we should focus on what’s usable rather than what we’re required to do.”
For now, Dominic Anthony will have to rely on the kindness of strangers when it comes to getting through the rest stop doors.
“I’d like to see at least one door have a push plate. it’s not too much to ask,” said Anthony.
Dominic and Duprey also told us that they’ve had issues at the rest stops when they come for gas. In the morning, it can take up to 30 minutes for someone to come out and help them because they say there only one person is working in the morning.
The ConnDOT tells us, “The CTDOT is certainly sympathetic to the concerns of all of its customers, and will take these issues into consideration for improvements above and beyond what currently exists at our already ADA-compliant facilities.”