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Snow Causing Accessibility Issues in North Bay

CTV Northern Ontario’s Brittany Bortolon talks with a North Bay woman who is frustrated with the inaccessibility of bus stops and sidewalks. Brittany Bortolon, Videojournalist, North Bay
Published Friday, January 25, 2019

A woman in North Bay is sharing her frustration about problems she’s facing with accessible sidewalks and bus stops with the city.

Butterfly Beth Fields uses a wheelchair to get around and says many of the stops in her area aren’t shoveled out, making it difficult for her and other riders facing similar challenges to board the bus.

“Look at all the snow here that I’ve got to get through to get off the road.” said Fields.

This transit rider says she’s fed up with bus stops in the city not being cleared of snow.

“There’s about eight people in this area that are in wheelchairs that need the bus service. I should have the same access to the city bus system that everybody else has.” said Fields.

Fields says she’s fortunate enough to be able to get up out of her chair to push herself through thick snowy parts, but others aren’t so lucky.

“They’re stuck and they rely on the kindness of strangers.” said Fields.

She adds even when she makes it safely across the street, she still has to sit and wait for the bus on the side of the road and hope she doesn’t get hit by a passing car.

But the city says with hundreds of stops and the unpredictable amount of snow, keeping up to every stop can be difficult.

“In the last week or so, we’ve had probably 25 to 30 centimetres in snow fall, so the sidewalk plows are out doing the best they can to clear out the sidewalks, and at the same time clear out the over 300 bus stops we have throughout the city.” said Remi Renaud, of the City of North Bay.

But snow isn’t the only issue riders like Fields face.

She says the older buses can’t lower to ground level the way the newer buses can.

“There’s no curb on a lot of the streets here in North Bay, and this street here has gravel on the side of the shoulders. And whether its snow or just an older bus, I am not physically capable of pushing myself up on the ramp on the wheelchair.” said Fields.

The city says anyone who may have a concern with an inaccessible area or bus stop should forward their concern to the Public Works Department.

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