Comment 16505

By wow (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2008 at 12:30:22

I would like to add the perspective of someone that needs to use a power wheelchair to get around.

For the sake of better mobility, I purposely live right down town, so I can use Main St and King St. as the main travel routes.

The City recently delegated sidewalk clearing as the responsibility of the residents and businesses on these roads, within 24 hours.

These are the downtowns' 2 main bus routes, and as mentioned - getting to a bus stop and on and off the bus is a challenge for the able bodied.

So is actually getting on a bus - as indicated by a University traveler.

When it snows, for people that use wheelchairs, buggies, baby strollers, crutches, walkers, or anyone that is not sure footed, the sidewalks spell a very dangerous situation.

If you live in the core area and need groceries, you have two choices; the Fortinos mall on Dundurn, or the Market.

The Market is only open 4 days a week and has some limitations in choice, but it is actually safer to travel to. Still in either choice I am forced to take a snow shovel with me whenever I need to go out because the last thing that gets cleared is the patch of sidewalk in front of a rental unit or business.

The Curry's Art store mall will clear the entire parking lot, and leave the sidewalk full of snow.

The intersection at Dundurn and King is a death trap. The spot of sidewalk at the south eat corner is barely 30 inches wide bounded by cement poles and wood barriers for the Kentucky Fried Chicken patch of garden.

Wheelchairs barely fit on this section of sidewalk, and with the slope to allow water run off from the sidewalk into the road, I find myself constantly struggling not to slide into King Street traffic, which includes Transport Trucks regularly.

As far as getting onto a bus heading east or west, I can expect to see 5 buses pass me by citing they are too full to take on a chair.

In the deep cold of winter, this presents the threat of frost bite...we can't stamp our feet or pace back and forth to keep the circulation going.

I know that every time it snows, I will not be able to get to the stores, even after 3 days unless I take a snow shovel with me, and you would not believe how many able bodied people walk right by a person in a wheelchair having to use a shovel to move inches further.

I have shoveled my way along King St. from Queen to Dundurn , South on Dundurn to Main St., and east all the way to City Hall, just to get supplies.... while I see city workers clearing the park sidewalks!

There are regular offenders, on these two road ways, some with their own snow clearing equipment.

Sterling Cycles - insists on placing their all terrain vehicles in the front of their store which is fine, except they don't leave enough clearance between a cement pole and where they place some of the four wheelers. On snow days, it is worse.

Kentucky Fried Chicken – can manage to clear it's entire parking lot and ignores the sidewalks constantly.

The Mall on the north side of King St. where the Currys Art store is located is the same, while the retirement home next to them has snow piled on that section of sidewalk from the snow pushed off the mall parking lots...

There are more.

The next time it snows, try seeing if you can push a bundle buggy along the sidewalks of Hamilton's two main roads, for groceries... then imagine having to sit in a wheelchair and do it.

And while I am at it, why does a person sitting in a wheelchair have to shovel the sidewalk clear for businesses that can manage to clear their parking lots?

Why do I have to clear other peoples sections of the main sidewalk, when I can clearly see someone from that house managed to clear the path from their front door to the sidewalk, and leave the rest.

Thinking that people walking along will flatten a path on the sidewalk, is beyond ignorant and lazy.

As for those that watch me struggle with a snow shovel and step around me like I am an inconvenience – they are beyond ignorant and should be ashamed of themselves.

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