October 31, 2016
She cuts a strange picture; a woman in a wheelchair driving down the bike lane on Bloor Street.”It’s not safe for myself or the bikers,” said Kaley Roosen.But if she wants to board a Wheel-Trans bus in front of her apartment she has no choice.
It used to be simple.The bus parked, the ramp was dropped across the curb onto the sidewalk, allowing a wheelchair to roll on.Then the city put in bike lanes, between the curb and Wheel-Trans stop.”So now Wheel-Trans has to park outside of the bike lane but there’s no cut-out for us to access Wheel-Trans from the curb cut so I have to go all of the way to the lights,” said Roosen, referring to a nearby intersection.
From the intersection she has to either travel partly in the car lane, or up the bike lane to get to the Wheel-Trans pick up spot.In frustration, Roosen tweeted a video of her concerns to the City of Toronto in early September.The city tweeted back that that stop was being “evaluated,” but Roosen said she hasn’t heard anything since.Global News took her concerns to city staff.
“We’ve looked at the nature of the type of curb cut that needs to be installed and we expect it is going to be installed within two weeks,” said Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati, Manager of Cycling Infrastructure and Programs at Toronto city hall.”Accessibility was absolutely part of the process,” she insisted when pressed as to how the situation happened.She also said the city consulted with Wheel-Trans when designing the bike lanes.Even so, two other locations have also been identified with the same problem, but those ones have been fixed.
The TTC, which runs Wheel-Trans, said they were not consulted. A spokesperson couldn’t say why they weren’t consulted.It is up to the city to put in curb cuts. The area is directly in front of an accessible Toronto Community Housing building, which also has supportive housing suites.
Roosen said such a lack of consideration for residents is mind boggling.”It’s extremely frustrating,” she said. “It’s a pattern right? They do these big projects they don’t consider accessibility, then suddenly everybody is running around scrambling because it just wasn’t considered and now it’s going to take a lot longer to fix.”The city added that it is now planning to put together working group on accessibility, since people have expressed concerns.