Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Where's Lulu: Accessiblity for Disabled Bostonians

There are plenty of restaurant review sites in Boston, from Urbanspoon to Chowhound. I get notifications about new sites all the time. But do we really need another one? Probably not, unless such a site is truly unique, offering something that existing sites do not or cannot. I recently received some information about a new site, one which I believe is truly unique.

Where's Lulu, which reviews restaurants and other establishments, is "...a free online community where people with disabilities can finally obtain accurate, reliable information on accessibility, and provide that information to other users by reviewing their favorite (or least favorite) local businesses. A guide to accessible places and services, Lulu provides an open forum where people can share information on everything from menu readability to bathroom accessibility." I don't believe anything else like this currently exists in Boston.

Founded in 2008, Where's Lulu currently covers Portland, San Francisco and Boston, with coverage of New York City coming soon. Lulu's co-founder and disability rights activist Caitlin “Lulu” Wood states: “As a disabled woman, I used to have to hear about accessibility through word-of-mouth, or call a place ahead of time - and even then, I often got the wrong information. Where's Lulu provides a way around that. It's really empowering."

Co-founder Toshio Meronek adds: "We aim to eliminate the stress and frustrations of trying to find accessible, fun venues, so disabled people can connect with other people who are into the same kinds of things. Plus, people love to speak their minds, and we give them an outlet.

It is free to join Lulu and anyone can post a review. Reviews will list about what accessibility is available at the restaurant, how the staff handles people, any known issues, and much more. Most of this information is not provided on other review sites. Thus it truly fills a need. You can even read their blog, which covers many issues of significant to the disabled community.

As Lulu is still relatively new, a number of the listed restaurants and establishments have limited information. Hopefully, as this site catches on, additional information and reviews will be added. I would encourage you to check out Lulu, and contribute to their reviews.

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