Living Life In A Wheelchair

Wheelchair And Mobility Scooter Accessibility Input On Bridge Design
[ Tuesday May 14th 2019 at 9:28 pm ]

RE: Highway 62 Norris Whitney Bridge Rehabilitation / Replacement (GWP 4194-15-00) Preliminary Design

I am a resident of Belleville Ontario. In today's mail was a flyer concerning the highway 62 Norris Whitney Bridge Rehabilitation / Replacement.

The area of this bridge is surrounded by the Bay of Quinte. There is Zwick's Park, trails and the hotel. What I want to ask is due consideration be given for wheelchair and mobility scooter accessibility. I recall recently coming this area of town and thoroughly enjoying the sunrise.

As someone dependent on a wheelchair the 3 biggest challenges I face are:

  1. When there isn't sufficient sidewalk width for a person to walk around me. You may find examples of this by following the Morira River as it travels North through town. You may measure what I've found to be a good width located at:
    • the pedestrian sidewalk path on the south side of the recent Bell Blvd extension
    • on the north side of Bridge Street West heading west starting at Yeoman Street
  2. When the design of a bridge is conducive to a dam forming. An example I may provide you with is as the recent winter came to an end. The numerous thaw - freeze - thaw cycles caused water to pool on the pedestrian sidewalks of the Bridge Street bridge in downtown Belleville (between TD Canada Trust and St. Vincent de Paul). Snow and ice formed where the water could have dripped either into the Morira River or onto the road surface for vehicles. As the winter comes to a close and the weather is nice I still have the same desire to get out as able body individuals.
  3. The vibration sidewalk 'cracks' cause have the same effect on me as if I was being assaulted. Although I am not here interested in debate the aesthetics as the downtown Belleville's rehabilitation using interlocking brick it has been properly horrible for me. As much as is practical I now actively try to avoid this due to the pain created.

As this is themed around living with a physical disability I will be including my input in my personal blog. I am happy for this to become part of the public record. Due to the underlying medical condition it isn't reliable for me to attend your public consultation on May 29th 2019. If any of your staff which to speak to me in more detail please contact me by e-mail and I'd be happy to arrange a time. I do value the opportunity to provide input and give voice to the need for accessibility consideration be provided in the design process.

I certainly wish you well and for the front line workers safety when the construction process commences.

Ron Piggott