Pushing to Improve Accessibility Ryan Braun March 16, 2022

Pushing to Improve Accessibility


By Lisa Danford

When Margaret Long moved to a new part of town, she was headed to the store with her best friend and neighbor, Nakiea Spaulding. Both women use power wheelchairs and were traveling on Reading Road when Spaulding headed off the curb and started going into traffic. “She just jumped out into the street and it scared me,” Long said. “It’s dangerous.”

Spaulding, 47, didn’t have much choice. That stretch of Reading Road had sidewalks that were broken, overgrown with weeds, or non-existent. Long, 50, has a long history of advocacy and knew this needed to be addressed. She took videos of their travels to catch the bus and started making calls.

Their requests for help were passed back-and-forth between local governments. Even news stories about the lack of proper sidewalks did little to solve the problem. But Long and Spaulding were persistent. In late 2021, two years after that first phone call, the Ohio Department of Transportation completed a new half-mile of sidewalks along Reading Road, between East Galbraith Road and Sunnybrook Drive, in Sycamore Township. “If there are changes you want to make, fight for it, and we can try to make the world better for everyone,” Spaulding said.


  • Do your research. Learn about the problem and possible solutions. “Think about your connections,” Long suggests. “Then pick up the phone and say, what can I do about this?”
  • Make a list of people who might be able to help. “Find the highest person that you know of and reach out,” Spaulding says. “Then move on to the next person and keep climbing that ladder until you get the answers you’re looking for.”
  • Some projects might take a long time, while others might be easier and quicker to complete. Either way, it’s important to be persistent. “Keep going because we have to keep on pushing for what we want,” Long says.


Both Nakiea and Margaret have been long-time advocates for accessibility. In 2011, Long was Ms. Wheelchair Ohio. She encourages you to reach out if you need help with resources, finding connections, or pushing for change. Her email address is justrollin4u19@gmail.com.