Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow removal and wheelchair pedestrians

I was reading the other day about plans for glass road systems that would melt snow and ice for future generations. and then I did a little more reading about other ideas inventors have had to get rid of winter precipitation

These ideas are being touted as a way to save cities and municipalities a lot of money on snow and ice removal. It occurred to me as I looked out the window at the snow covered ground that this could be life changing for the mobility of disabled folks if the needs of pedestrians are taken into account as well as that of drivers.

The sidewalks are are mostly impassable and have been for the better part of a month since the snow blowers leave a path too narrow for a wheelchair unless the user knows to make the path wider. Most don't seem to. There are debates about whether wheelchair users should use the streets when sidewalks are impassable. I always find that interesting because when streets are closed for repairs, alternative routes are posted. Pedestrians in wheelchairs have nowhere else to go but the street when facing walls of snow. If they need to get to the bus stop,store or doctor, they may be able to wait a few days but when the ground is covered by large amounts of frozen snow leaving narrow paths for weeks on end, such debates become ludicrous.

I hope planners take pedestrian needs into account with these new systems for this reason.

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