"It happens in cities and towns throughout the country. As a wheelchair user, I understand people's frustrations," Raggio said. "It's a challenge any time you're altering an existing structure. It's easier to add things when you're building from scratch than to add on later."

Dubin said he isn't picking on the city. During a walk along Falls Road, he pointed out a stop for the No. 60 bus on the northbound side of the road at Lakeside Drive, just over the city-county line. The sidewalk leading to the stop is just 28 inches wide.

"If someone in a wheelchair comes up from the Falls Road light rail stop, they get here and they can't get any farther," Dubin said. "There's a place just down the hill that would be a much better stop. It's just common sense."

The Dubin family is no stranger to the fight for rights for those with disabilities.

A certified public accountant, Dubin has been on the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities for a dozen years and is its vice chairman.

When she was 12 years old, his profoundly deaf daughter, Rachel Dubin, asked a U.S. Senate committee in 1989 to "please fund deaf research as generously as you can." In 2001, she stood behind then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening as he signed into law bills to require health insurers to cover hearing aids for children as prescribed by an audiologist and to establish a loan program making the aids available even to those without insurance.

"You have to speak up," Ben Dubin said.

Progress is being made.

Just last month, Annapolis officials and the State Highway Administration celebrated the completion of nearly two miles of sidewalk reconstruction that allows someone in a wheelchair to travel from downtown to the city line. The $1.8 million project replaced narrow sidewalks with five-foot-wide sidewalks, installed curb ramps, relocated utilities and constructed sidewalk "bump outs" to provide a safe pedestrian travel path around obstacles that could not be relocated.

Last year, the SHA's ADA Sidewalk program spent $19.8 million to improve sidewalks and address ADA issues.

But Gabriel doesn't think that Falls Road sidewalks — which would require city, not state, funding — will be upgraded any time soon.

"Unless the economy turns around and money falls from the sky, it is what it is," he said.

For people with disabilities traveling along Falls Road, that means you can't get there from here.

candy.thomson@baltsun.com