Received: Friday, February 5, 2010, 6:54 AM
Yesterday, I tried to catch the bus just east of Arthur & James on Arthur Street. It wasn’t cleared out. I went east to the next stop. It was cleared out, but barely wide enough to fit a wheelchair on & there is no path from the sidewalk to the bus stop. There was NO room even for the ramp to rest! The driver tried. He said I should have gone to the nearest drive way. 2 problems with that. Well, 3, really. 1. Driveways are NOT bus stops and some drivers refuse to pick me up, even when the driveway is only right next door to the stop. 2. When getting on from a driveway, one is often pretty close to road level & it is nearly impossible, not to mention dangerous to climb the ramp. Sometimes it’s a 45 degree angle! 3. Some people don’t clear their driveways or don’t clear them well enough for a wheelchair to move through.
I looked out the window at the stops & discovered I would have had to walk ALL the way to Arthur & Ford Street before I found one that was cleared out properly! It would be ridiculous to expect able-bodied people to walk that far to catch a bus or to expect them to climb up a step that was chest-high to get on. (I’m comparing a very steep ramp & the effort it takes to go up one to stepping that high.) so why are people who have physical disabilities expected to?
We haven’t had significant snow for SEVERAL days. It’s getting to the point where I’m starting to think of buying a folding shovel & carrying it with me, so that when I go out, I’ll know that when I go somewhere, I’ll be able to get from the stop to the sidewalk or to catch the bus without having to walk over a mile. Imagine if visitors to our city drove by & saw me – in a powerchair with1 semi-good arm, clearing out a bus stop with a small folding shovel!
I’m sorry for the long letter, but I am FRUSTRATED because I am late to or miss appointments, meetings, etc. I DO pay busfare – the same as students & (healthy & able-bodied) seniors who don’t have to wander from bus stop to bus stop looking for one they can use.
I know you’re trying, but this issue comes up every winter. We live in the North. It WILL snow! We need to budget for & plan timely removal!
Tracy Lynn Hurlbert, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Sidewalk Snow is an issue for people with disabilities Across Canada!
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