Living in The District with a Disability

November 4, 2016 | Catherine Jacobson

Washington D.C. has easily and quickly become my favorite city. I have to admit that this is significantly due to the accessibility of the city to me, which provides me the resources to be independent. I am legally blind, but often describe myself as a person with a visual impairment, because I can see quite a bit. With my specific disability, and in my individual case, I find Washington D.C. the most accommodating and accessible city I have been to.

Much of this is because of the metro system here. I have two blind parents and a visually impaired sister, therefore throughout my entire life I have been reliant on public transportation. I grew up and go to school in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. The Twin Cities public transportation system is good, there are buses going all around the cities, plus a few light rail lines going across the cities. However, it is nothing like the D.C. metro system.

There are metro stops all around Washington D.C. I never feel lost because I am always close to a metro stop, which means I am always close to my apartment. Yes, there is quite a bit of construction happening to the metro system this summer, however even with the construction I find the metro to be way more convenient than a regular bus system. I can only imagine how nice the metro system will be after all of the construction is complete. I have been on some of the new trains and they are very accessible. They have automatic stop calling, better lighting, and more room.

Besides the metro, everything in D.C. is very close together. I can walk across downtown D.C. with no problem. It is small enough that it is easy to figure out where you are going. The metro stops are also very close to one another. I walk a lot, I enjoy walking, and walking is free.

This city makes me feel very independent. I don’t have to wait 20 minutes for a bus, or rely on someone else to drive me somewhere. I can get to all of my appointments and meetings very easily and independently. I would love to be able to live here someday and hope to come back after an incredible summer of exploring and learning this amazing city.

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Catherine Jacobson was a 2016 AAPD Summer Intern who interned with Senator Amy Klobuchar. She is currently a junior at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, pursuing a double major in Public Health Sciences and Social Justice, with a Health Equity concentration.

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