Finn Bullers celebrating Merriam vote to update disabled access icon

Finn Bullers (center) with children Alora (left) and Christian, before the family headed to the Merriam city council meeting Monday.
Finn Bullers (center) with children Alora (left) and Christian, before the family headed to the Merriam city council meeting Monday.

Prairie Village resident Finn Bullers this week is celebrating a victory in his quest to update the familiar disabled access icon — and he says he’s just getting started.

On Monday, Merriam’s city council voted unanimously to adopt a new access icon that features a graphic depicting an actively engaged person in a wheelchair, making Merriam the only city in the United States outside of New York City that has adopted the logo for all its access signs. For Bullers, who has championed the cause for the past months, the vote was validation that democracy works in local governments.

“[G]ood ideas, expressed well and with redeeming social value will prevail,” he said. “I was thrilled to know I had not let down the disability community and this will only be the first access-symbol Domino to fall in a long line of Dominos.”

Merriam has committed to replacing the approximately 40 access signs it has on city property, each at a cost of about $35 for a total of around $1,400. The city will also look to restencil graphics on the pavement in city parking lots. The stencil costs around $275, which Bullers says is a bit pricey, but notes “can be purchased by one group, for example, and loaned for use by several others.”

Bullers says he intends to keep putting the issue in front of the city of Prairie Village. Bullers contacted Mayor Ron Shaffer about the idea, but says he has yet to hear anything back.

“We feel this would be an ideal time for Prairie Village to change its signs,” Bullers said. “The City Council recently voted to spend $500,000 on infrastructure improvements and accessibility related expenses in its capital-improvements plan. We feel this would be an ideal opportunity to make these changes now while new construction is still in the planning stages.”

Merriam public works intends to replace its existing disabled access signs within the next month.