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Pedestrian Travel for Persons With Disabilities Can Be Difficult and Occasionally Risky

by the Ottawa Disability Coalition (ODC).
November 17, 2017

After conducting accessibility audits in 3 Ottawa areas, the ODC reports the lack of sidewalks in some areas, poor sidewalk conditions and poor or no curb cuts allowing access to sidewalks may force some with mobility disabilities to travel on the road.

Further, If Canada is similar to the U.S., wheelchair users are at particular risk an American study reports “persons in wheelchairs are a third more likely to be killed in a road accident than the general public is”. https://www.citylab.com/equity/2015/11/wheelchair-users-are-more-likely-to-be-killed-in-traffic-than-other-pedestrians/416667/

Winter conditions pose additional risk

Snow or ice blocked sidewalks, unreachable crosswalk buttons and snow windrows at intersections and bus shelters may mean those with disabilities may choose to be housebound if they cannot secure ParaTranspo. This last item is particularly likely as the service is over subscribed.

How can persons with disabilities get much needed infrastructure improvements and maintenance made?

Some situations, such as cracked or broken sidewalks, debris or vegetation problems or snow blocked curb cuts can be addressed through 3-1-1 in Ottawa. Conditions that cannot be remedied in this way may require more community involvement.

Steps to organizing an accessibility audit are located at https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/b40f6d_4f1cc012ae1a42c2ade8b05334ec31fe.pdf .

To access the full report, go to: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/b40f6d_00ca2d176c864658bee092f9311824c5.pdf