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The NEVERENDING Raising Children Thread

JNA

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Article - Can Parks Make Kids Better at Math?
https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/ca...ail&utm_term=0_fcee5bf7a0-54dd31930d-43829493

As Next City has covered, there tends to be a consensus among urban planners that parks make cities, and their residents, healthier and more resilient.
They also help urban areas mitigate and adapt to climate change.
But the humble tree (or playground, or bike path) is often left out of large-scale budget discussions, even as cities incentivize the creation of pseudo-private open spaces in their stead.
Linking the benefits of open space to education, as well as health, could continue to help urban planners make a case for the creation and maintenance of places for play.
 
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Any of you guys ever relocate to be closer to family after having kids?

My partner and I have an adorable 18 month old. We live in NYC, which is where I've made my planning career for the last 11 years. Both sets of grandparents live far away; one set in NC, and the other in NH. One sister in law lives in NJ, an hour away by car, but isn't really able to help babysit due a demanding work schedule and the reality that it is so arduous to get from NJ into NYC and back most of the time due to the sheer congestion. We are using a combination of a sitter and daycare to the tune of about $1,000 a month in childcare expenses currently.

The lack of any kind of familial support is taking its toll on us. We haven't had a date as a couple since spring, when the MIL came up from NC for a few days to visit. It is hard on the relationship and hard on us as individual people; neither of us have any real hobbies or outside interests anymore due to lack of free time. During the workweek, I'm typically out of the apartment from 8:30am to 7:15pm (1 hr commute each way plus 8 hour workday) and my partner is now working 3 days a week with a similar work schedule. We are thinking about having a second baby before the age gap between them gets to big, and since we both getting close to 40, time is sort of running out. If life here is tough with one kid, two could break us. Just getting a stroller down the subway stairs with a single kid is a giant PITA.

We are thinking of relocating in order to be closer to family and to have an easier lifestyle - either NC or New England. Both grandmas are very eager to be involved and help watch him. Have any of you guys had success with this? I do have friends who warn that being too close to a MIL can be a double edged sword, and I'm cognizant of the need to set boundaries. Anything to give us a little relief, though.
 

Veloise

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Any of you guys ever relocate to be closer to family after having kids?

My partner and I have an adorable 18 month old. We live in NYC, ...grandparents live far away; one set in NC, and the other in NH....sitter and daycare to the tune of about $1,000 a month in childcare expenses currently.
...1 hr commute each way plus 8 hour workday) and my partner is now working 3 days a week with a similar work schedule. We are thinking about having a second baby before the age gap between them gets to big, and since we both getting close to 40, time is sort of running out. If life here is tough with one kid, two could break us....
We are thinking of relocating in order to be closer to family and to have an easier lifestyle - either NC or New England. Both grandmas are very eager to be involved and help watch him. Have any of you guys had success with this? I do have friends who warn that being too close to a MIL can be a double edged sword, and I'm cognizant of the need to set boundaries. Anything to give us a little relief, though.
Moving closer to one set of grandparents moves you further away from the other set. Also, there are no guarantees that the GPs' health and mobility will continue.
Can you move closer to your workplace? Or upstate, or to Allentown PA?
 
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Moving closer to one set of grandparents moves you further away from the other set. Also, there are no guarantees that the GPs' health and mobility will continue.
Can you move closer to your workplace? Or upstate, or to Allentown PA?
That bolded part was my initial thought as well.

While it would be nice to have some family nearby, moving (and the job search that it would entail) is a major anxiety inducer and stressor and there's no promise that the grandparent will be able to assist as much as you expect them to. If you do decide to move to NC or NH do your planning as if having a grandparent there is just a happy coincidence and not really a major driving factor.

And yes, life is tough with a kid. My wife and I haven't had a "date night" in nearly a year - granted, we don't put much effort into finding sitters, but still...
 
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My parents moved closer to me (I'm in CA, they were in OK but are now in AZ) and I haven't seen them nearly as much as we were all expecting because my mom hasn't retired yet.

I'd seriously think about how much help you could expect them to do... it would be a LOT to expect them to watch both kids full-time (or even one kid full time), so you'd still need some child care.

If other things would be less expensive/easier (housing, commuting, etc.) and you can find jobs you like, and you like the area, then it's worth it.
 

Michele Zone

     
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I was a military wife for a lot of years. We moved around a lot and mostly were pretty far from family.

Date nights are overrated. Make sure you are spending at least 15 hours a week together doing stuff. It doesn't matter how that time is distributed and it mostly doesn't matter what the hell you are doing. You should try to have conversation during those hours.

Most of my marital conversations occurred in the car while driving around to do other things. When we had two cars, that hurt our marriage more than his 60+ hours per week military career.

My oldest son spent years baffled at the memes concerning terrible, interfering in-laws. This was just not part of his life experience. My marriage was vastly better for not having that element in it.

There has to be some things that would make life easier without the major pain of moving.

Strap the kid to your chest instead of using a stroller. Buy more convenience items for the short term. Rearrange your home to make it more user-friendly in some way.

Sit down and list your pain points and try to find smaller life adjustments that would ease the pain. The first couple of years are typically the hardest and having a second one may not be as bad as you think. When you have two, they play with each other instead of demanding parental attention incessantly and the younger one can get hand-me-downs from the older one, etc.

I mean, it's your life. I'm not trying to talk you out of anything. This is just my 2 cents.

I'm really close to my now adult kids. I was chronically short of sleep the first 7 years of my firstborn's life. I wouldn't do anything different.

Best.
 
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Moving closer to one set of grandparents moves you further away from the other set. Also, there are no guarantees that the GPs' health and mobility will continue.
Can you move closer to your workplace? Or upstate, or to Allentown PA?
1) The NH grandparents have discussed retiring down south. NC is a possibility
2) No, we are in a rent controlled 2 bedroom apartment in Manhattan, which is extremely rare and fortunate. Any comparable market-rate housing in the metro area would be at least an additional $1,000 a month. Leaving for any other borough or location in the Tri-State Area is off the table.

My wife and I haven't had a "date night" in nearly a year - granted, we don't put much effort into finding sitters, but still...
Do you feel that this is healthy for *any* relationship? At some point, you start to feel like the joint proprietors of a child care center instead of a couple. I think it's a dangerous path to go down.

Thanks for the input, all.

Do we have any former New Yorkers here, or former residents of a crowded, major city? Are most of you guys out in the Midwest? I feel as though the crowded city lifestyle versus less populated locales is difficult to compare. Any of you guys ever deal with a toddler while on a jam packed subway train?

I've lived here so long that the idea of your typical two car suburban lawn lifestyle is sort of culturally alien. I grew up in a town like that, but went off to college twenty years ago... that's how long it's been since I lived in that sort of environment. We do pretty much everything on foot or via transit and use the car for weekend trips only. Being able to drive to stuff and park nearby instead of using transit sounds potentially easier, but then there is the reality of chauferring the kid until the end of time. What is that like?

Parents on both sides are mid to late sixties, so being close to them would also allow us to help them out as well, especially as they get older.
 

Michele Zone

     
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Do we have any former New Yorkers here, or former residents of a crowded, major city? Are most of you guys out in the Midwest? I feel as though the crowded city lifestyle versus less populated locales is difficult to compare. Any of you guys ever deal with a toddler while on a jam packed subway train?
My second child was born in Germany. No subway experience, but we did take buses a fair amount, biked, ans walked. I pretty quickly abandoned the stroller for strapping baby to my chest, wearing a backpack to carry stuff and putting toddler on my shoulders. I had a baby seat on my bike and biked with the oldest until I was like 8 months pregnant.

I did a lot of traveling with kids as a military wife. I kept up a constant patter to keep them occupied. I basically narrated what we were doing.

"We are waiting for the bus. This is a bus stop. It is for waiting for the bus. This big vehicle pulling up is the bus. This thing on the side is the number of the bus. It says six. We are getting on the bus now. etc"

They learned a tremendous amount and it kept them from having meltdowns.
 
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Do you feel that this is healthy for *any* relationship? At some point, you start to feel like the joint proprietors of a child care center instead of a couple. I think it's a dangerous path to go down.
Everybody's situation, what they want in their relationship, and how they like to spend their time together is different. We do meet for lunch on occasion during the day, so we get some time to ourselves that way and both of our children are routinely in bed and asleep by 8:30 p.m. (the 2-year-old hits the rack at 7:15 and is usually out within about 10 minutes, the 8-year-old is in bed most nights by 8:wow:0 and asleep by 8:30) so we also have a few hours to ourselves nearly every night but even before we were married, it's not like we were out partying or hitting up the bars and restaurants with any sort of routine. Before we had kids, a typical date would be just a walk around the neighborhood or to the ice cream store together, we don't mind doing that with the kids in tow. We did (and do still) like to go to the movies but we'd rather relax with each other on the couch or the patio most nights.

FWIW - I was the youngest of 5 and never saw my parents go out for "date nights". They would take us kids out to dinner with them to all sorts of restaurants including the "fancy" ones in the area... we just did everything together. My parents celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary this year.

My wife's birthday was yesterday and on Saturday afternoon, our oldest was going to a friend's house for a movie night and she would be there until late. I asked my wife if she wanted me to try and get the girl next door to babysit in the evening since it would be just one child and we could go out to dinner together (without any kids) for her birthday. I figured that she would have jumped at the idea but she said she would rather stay in and we could use that as an opportunity to give our youngest some attention without the oldest around.
 

Veloise

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... Any of you guys ever deal with a toddler while on a jam packed subway train?

I've lived here so long that the idea of your typical two car suburban lawn lifestyle is sort of culturally alien. I grew up in a town like that, but went off to college twenty years ago... that's how long it's been since I lived in that sort of environment. We do pretty much everything on foot or via transit and use the car for weekend trips only. Being able to drive to stuff and park nearby instead of using transit sounds potentially easier, but then there is the reality of chauferring the kid until the end of time. What is that like?

Parents on both sides are mid to late sixties, so being close to them would also allow us to help them out as well, especially as they get older.
How do wheelchair users access the subways? (When I take a sousaphone to DC, I've used the Metro elevators.)

Seems like the biggest culturally alien change would be to move from the largest city in the country to one that... isn't.
Want to get started on the different attitudes between the regions?

I'm not saying this is all a bad idea, and it's good that you're considering it pre-need. There are a few folks on here who've made dramatic long-distance moves; seems like it was for grad school or a job change or to get away from relatives. They'll chime in.
 

gtpeach

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After having a string of pretty good mornings, we crashed and burned today. 14 year old had to be at school ON TIME because she had a field trip. Good thing I tried to get us leaving 10 minutes before I really wanted to leave, because we ended up leaving 5 minutes after I wanted to leave. Got the 6 year old ready, waiting on the 14 year old to finish up, and during that time while I'm letting 14 year old know that we have to go RIGHT NOW, 6 year old decided she wanted to paint her nails RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. When I told her we didn't have time this morning but could do it after school, she had a complete meltdown.

I ended up carrying her to the car, and when we got to school, we realized she didn't have her bookbag. Which also meant she didn't have her folder or her snack for the afternoon. So then she was upset about going to school. Thankfully her teacher was walking in right as we were getting out of the car and was able to tell her it was no big deal. I guess we'll be having a conversation tonight about not always being able to get our way, not being a good listener, making poor choices, and facing consequences for those choices.
 
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After having a string of pretty good mornings, we crashed and burned today. 14 year old had to be at school ON TIME because she had a field trip. Good thing I tried to get us leaving 10 minutes before I really wanted to leave, because we ended up leaving 5 minutes after I wanted to leave. Got the 6 year old ready, waiting on the 14 year old to finish up, and during that time while I'm letting 14 year old know that we have to go RIGHT NOW, 6 year old decided she wanted to paint her nails RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. When I told her we didn't have time this morning but could do it after school, she had a complete meltdown.

I ended up carrying her to the car, and when we got to school, we realized she didn't have her bookbag. Which also meant she didn't have her folder or her snack for the afternoon. So then she was upset about going to school. Thankfully her teacher was walking in right as we were getting out of the car and was able to tell her it was no big deal. I guess we'll be having a conversation tonight about not always being able to get our way, not being a good listener, making poor choices, and facing consequences for those choices.
It seems like 90% of the meltdowns our daughter had when she was about 5-7 years old basically boiled down to time management. The economist in me tried explaining the concept of opportunity cost to her and how if she decides to do Action A that's less time she'll have for Action B, C, D, etc. She didn't quite get it so I got the bright idea to use the whiteboard on her little easel: One evening before dinner I drew a big square and divided into a bunch of little boxes. I knew that usually she would take forever (with some time dedicated to whining) to eat dinner and then need a bath or shower and she'd want to play and also go outside and do a bunch of other things. Before dinner I told her each box on the whiteboard represented 5 minutes and when they were all erased it was her bedtime. During dinner I erased a few boxes while she was wasting time whining about things and then she saw a whole bunch get erased while she was supposed to be getting ready for her shower and she saw how much playtime she would have start to dwindle. We did this a couple nights in a row and she finally got the hint that her choices of what to do in the present limit her options of what she can do in the future. She's 8 now and quite a bit better with her time management but every once in a while I still have to draw a bunch of boxes on the whiteboard.
 

gtpeach

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It seems like 90% of the meltdowns our daughter had when she was about 5-7 years old basically boiled down to time management. The economist in me tried explaining the concept of opportunity cost to her and how if she decides to do Action A that's less time she'll have for Action B, C, D, etc. She didn't quite get it so I got the bright idea to use the whiteboard on her little easel: One evening before dinner I drew a big square and divided into a bunch of little boxes. I knew that usually she would take forever (with some time dedicated to whining) to eat dinner and then need a bath or shower and she'd want to play and also go outside and do a bunch of other things. Before dinner I told her each box on the whiteboard represented 5 minutes and when they were all erased it was her bedtime. During dinner I erased a few boxes while she was wasting time whining about things and then she saw a whole bunch get erased while she was supposed to be getting ready for her shower and she saw how much playtime she would have start to dwindle. We did this a couple nights in a row and she finally got the hint that her choices of what to do in the present limit her options of what she can do in the future. She's 8 now and quite a bit better with her time management but every once in a while I still have to draw a bunch of boxes on the whiteboard.
This is GENIUS!
 
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After having a string of pretty good mornings, we crashed and burned today. 14 year old had to be at school ON TIME because she had a field trip. Good thing I tried to get us leaving 10 minutes before I really wanted to leave, because we ended up leaving 5 minutes after I wanted to leave. Got the 6 year old ready, waiting on the 14 year old to finish up, and during that time while I'm letting 14 year old know that we have to go RIGHT NOW, 6 year old decided she wanted to paint her nails RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. When I told her we didn't have time this morning but could do it after school, she had a complete meltdown.

I ended up carrying her to the car, and when we got to school, we realized she didn't have her bookbag. Which also meant she didn't have her folder or her snack for the afternoon. So then she was upset about going to school. Thankfully her teacher was walking in right as we were getting out of the car and was able to tell her it was no big deal. I guess we'll be having a conversation tonight about not always being able to get our way, not being a good listener, making poor choices, and facing consequences for those choices.
Natural consequences like that suck as a parent but are important for the kids to experience, as a learning tool. She will likely make sure she has her bookbag from now on. I've been getting serious with my boys about "first time listening" because school day mornings and evenings are a lot harder when I have to tell/remind them five times to do things. :eek:|



It seems like 90% of the meltdowns our daughter had when she was about 5-7 years old basically boiled down to time management. The economist in me tried explaining the concept of opportunity cost to her and how if she decides to do Action A that's less time she'll have for Action B, C, D, etc. She didn't quite get it so I got the bright idea to use the whiteboard on her little easel: One evening before dinner I drew a big square and divided into a bunch of little boxes. I knew that usually she would take forever (with some time dedicated to whining) to eat dinner and then need a bath or shower and she'd want to play and also go outside and do a bunch of other things. Before dinner I told her each box on the whiteboard represented 5 minutes and when they were all erased it was her bedtime. During dinner I erased a few boxes while she was wasting time whining about things and then she saw a whole bunch get erased while she was supposed to be getting ready for her shower and she saw how much playtime she would have start to dwindle. We did this a couple nights in a row and she finally got the hint that her choices of what to do in the present limit her options of what she can do in the future. She's 8 now and quite a bit better with her time management but every once in a while I still have to draw a bunch of boxes on the whiteboard.
This is a good idea!
 
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It seems like 90% of the meltdowns our daughter had when she was about 5-7 years old basically boiled down to time management. The economist in me tried explaining the concept of opportunity cost to her and how if she decides to do Action A that's less time she'll have for Action B, C, D, etc. She didn't quite get it so I got the bright idea to use the whiteboard on her little easel: One evening before dinner I drew a big square and divided into a bunch of little boxes. I knew that usually she would take forever (with some time dedicated to whining) to eat dinner and then need a bath or shower and she'd want to play and also go outside and do a bunch of other things. Before dinner I told her each box on the whiteboard represented 5 minutes and when they were all erased it was her bedtime. During dinner I erased a few boxes while she was wasting time whining about things and then she saw a whole bunch get erased while she was supposed to be getting ready for her shower and she saw how much playtime she would have start to dwindle. We did this a couple nights in a row and she finally got the hint that her choices of what to do in the present limit her options of what she can do in the future. She's 8 now and quite a bit better with her time management but every once in a while I still have to draw a bunch of boxes on the whiteboard.
That is brilliant idea. I which I would have known about when mini WYP was little.
 

Maister

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Junior is 13 and there are power struggles almost every morning over:
1) breakfast - he resists eating any breakfast and comes home from school famished, usually devouring a container of something like ice cream or chips....or whatever the worst food choice available happens to be.
2) morning checklist - we had him tested by a neuropsych and Junior has some significant challenges related to working memory and executive function. He might recognize this in the abstract, but when it comes time to pursue/teach strategies to help him deal with these deficiencies (such as checklists) he consistently resists them and swears "I swear I remembered everything to do and take today! I don't need a stupid checklist! Don't you trust me?" If this checklist is not reviewed with him there is about a 90% chance he will forget to pack his book bag with homework, permission slips, or anything else required at school that day. This was one situation where 'tough love' utterly failed and allowing him to accept the consequences of his inability to remember things proved academically disastrous (and his self esteem) for the semester we allowed him to 'go it on his own' with no assistance.
3) clothing - the best way to describe Junior's departure most mornings would be the word "escape." It may be 39 degrees outside, but he'll insist on wearing absurdly inadequate clothing, such as shorts, t-shirt, and sandals during such conditions. His goal most mornings is to get out the front door before his parents have had the opportunity to see what he's chosen to wear. I personally choose not to engage on this one under the parental precept of 'picking your fights' but Mrs. Maister is unable/unwilling to let this one go unchecked. Consequently there's lots and lots and lots and lots of drama going on here in the mornings.
 

Michele Zone

     
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Maister Junior sounds quite a lot like my oldest, except that we pulled the kids out of school when he was 11 to homeschool and he learned about clothing and weather when he was 2. That stood him in good stead the rest of his childhood.

He still is not a breakfast person and still dresses unconventionally, but he's an unemployed bum whose only accomplishment in life is nursing his mom back to health after doctors wrote her off for dead. He's clear that as long as he doesn't, say, become a serial killer as one of his hobbies, I am happy to provide for him and he only needs to figure out how to earn money because he will likely outlive me.

So it doesn't matter all that much that he's weird and can't fit in most places. It's all good.
 

kjel

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1) The NH grandparents have discussed retiring down south. NC is a possibility
2) No, we are in a rent controlled 2 bedroom apartment in Manhattan, which is extremely rare and fortunate. Any comparable market-rate housing in the metro area would be at least an additional $1,000 a month. Leaving for any other borough or location in the Tri-State Area is off the table.



Do you feel that this is healthy for *any* relationship? At some point, you start to feel like the joint proprietors of a child care center instead of a couple. I think it's a dangerous path to go down.

Thanks for the input, all.

Do we have any former New Yorkers here, or former residents of a crowded, major city? Are most of you guys out in the Midwest? I feel as though the crowded city lifestyle versus less populated locales is difficult to compare. Any of you guys ever deal with a toddler while on a jam packed subway train?

I've lived here so long that the idea of your typical two car suburban lawn lifestyle is sort of culturally alien. I grew up in a town like that, but went off to college twenty years ago... that's how long it's been since I lived in that sort of environment. We do pretty much everything on foot or via transit and use the car for weekend trips only. Being able to drive to stuff and park nearby instead of using transit sounds potentially easier, but then there is the reality of chauferring the kid until the end of time. What is that like?

Parents on both sides are mid to late sixties, so being close to them would also allow us to help them out as well, especially as they get older.
NYC metro is tough. I totally understand. It costs a crap ton to have kids here and there is no freaking way I'd do it in NYC proper for reasons you have cited. Most of my NYC friends have left the city for the suburbs or NJ once they had the 2nd kid.

I live in Newark and commuted to Grand Central all last year-hated every minute of it even though the money was very good. When an opportunity with Hudson County came up I jumped on it, even though it pays a bit less I still net the same and I've regained an hour a day back. Childcare is more reasonable on this side of the Hudson. I drive myself to work because I have a parking spot but I could take public transit if needed.

We live far from any family as well. My in-laws are in the Dominican Republic and even if they were here they would not be able to help care for my daughter in any meaningful way. My parents are deceased. We did think about moving to MA as there is extended family there but we also came to the conclusion that it would not be beneficial to move based on a number of factors. We are lucky to have an excellent babysitter and backup sitter but they only watch her M-F. We don't have help otherwise. It does get easier as they get older.

I feel like I have the best of both worlds living where I do, my neighborhood is super walkable and two blocks from the train as well as access points to many major roadways. I own a car but I can still do everything without one and parking isn't a competition sport in my neighborhood. You only chauffeur your kids as much as you are willing to (my oldest now 25 spent most of her childhood in the real 'burbs and I refused).

As other's have cautioned, you need to be honest with yourselves about how much help you're realistically going to get from either set of parents and recognize that they will age and need care themselves which can be burdensome and limiting in its own way. This is real talk as a number of us here are or have been in this situation. Think about what your job opportunities would be, how much you'd earn, what the cost of living would be in a new location and how far your earnings would go, would you be able to adapt to the lifestyle in a different location, would you rent/buy, do you need a car or two cars, etc. It's not an easy calculus.
 

kjel

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How do wheelchair users access the subways? (When I take a sousaphone to DC, I've used the Metro elevators.)

Seems like the biggest culturally alien change would be to move from the largest city in the country to one that... isn't.
Want to get started on the different attitudes between the regions?

I'm not saying this is all a bad idea, and it's good that you're considering it pre-need. There are a few folks on here who've made dramatic long-distance moves; seems like it was for grad school or a job change or to get away from relatives. They'll chime in.
With great difficulty. About 80% of the stations are not accessible AT ALL to wheelchair users and at the ones that are the elevators are frequently out of order.

https://ny.curbed.com/2017/9/21/16315042/nyc-subway-wheelchair-accessible-ada
https://transitcenter.org/publications/access-denied/#introduction
 
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