Street Stories: Devin Guirales

Name, age, any personal identities you feel like sharing, neighborhood where you live, who you live with/care for, school you go to, type of work you do or hope to do.

Hello, I am Devin Guirales. I am 31 years old with cerebral palsy. I use a wheelchair and crutches depending on the activity I have to do for that day. I have been a RIPTA rider for about 15 years on and off I live in Pawtucket on the 72 line near Smithfield and Power Road. I live with my mother and we take care of each other. I am a member of ATAC and RI Transit Riders community.

How do you typically travel around Providence? Is that working for you? How does it affect your life, your job, your family?

If I need to get into Providence, I usually take to 72 into town with my wheelchair. Getting around the state in general is very hard as many places do not want to accept RIPTA buses on their properties anymore. It has affected my schooling – I was a CCRI student for two semesters before I decided for my own safety to drop out because of the snow. My mother is a night shift worker at Cintas; there isn’t any busing to there so she has to rely on a car all the time.

Right now I am looking forward to the MBTA serving Pawtucket & Central Falls as it opens the door of opportunity for me to be more independent in a new state and town like Boston, MA.

How would you ideally like to get around Providence and what would need to happen to make that a reality?

As a person with cerebral palsy that uses a wheelchair, I consider my wheelchair a bike. Ideally, I would like Providence to be a bike-only city as I feel safer using the bicycle lanes in Providence.

Do you feel safe when traveling around Providence? Where do you feel safe, and where do you not?

If I have to do something in town, the only time I will go out will be during the daytime, and only travel the downtown transit corridor.

How could the City or RIPTA improve your experience getting around?

Create transit oriented, affordable housing to cut down the time that I have to do an activity during the day. For example, right now to do one activity in the day it takes me about eight hours, a normal regular shift.

What do you think is the best way to attract more people to ride RIPTA?

As as a young person with cerebral palsy who lives on a fixed income with a state check, the state of Rhode Island should include a monthly bus pass in our state check.

What are your favorite parts of riding RIPTA? What are the biggest challenges?

There is no favorite part of riding but the biggest challenge is right now to do one activity in the day it takes me about eight hours, a normal regular shift.

What do you think is the best way to attract more people to ride bikes for everyday short trips around the city?

Building more bike lanes. 

What do you think most contributes to a walkable environment? Where do you find that in Providence, and where do you not?

In general, Providence is built on hills so when I go uphill, I use the bus but I usually go downhill riding on my wheelchair so I get a little bit of a rest.

How can Providence improve accessibility for people of all ages and abilities?

More ramps and curb cut outs. A step into a public place is a deterrent for me.