Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Navigating Spokane Streets From A Different Viewpoint

It's not unusual to see Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder on two wheels. Those wheels are usually attached to a bicycle though, not a wheelchair. Mr. Snyder took to this chair forInternational Disability Day, to experience what people confined to wheelchairs deal with every day. Dec. 3 happened to be a pretty snowy day too, no picnic in a wheelchair. Snyder blogs about his experience here.

I've had the pleasure over my years at SRTC of working with a wonderful woman from Millwood who has Lou Gehrig's disease. She has worked with us in the past to identify situations that can be huge barriers to folks on wheels. And the days I went out with her, there wasn't even snow on the ground. Some items she did point out:

- Sidewalks that were too narrow for her power chair
- Crosswalks where the button to push to get the walk signal was mounted on a pole that sat in the middle of a bed of decorative rocks, which her chair couldn't traverse
- Poles and signs placed in the middle of sidewalks
- ADA ramps that were too steep to navigate
- Bus stops where the bus couldn't get close enough to the curb for her to get her wheelchair on
- Debris such as broken glass and other trash on sidewalks.

Kind of opens your eyes to take even a short walk with someone who gets around in different ways than we do.


Not said...

Councilman Snyder's experience certainly sounds challenging. But I think it would be even more difficult in the lower-density areas of the city, where we have no parking enforcement. I see many cars that are blocking sidewalks, both in and out of driveways. Some of them remain for days at a time.
- Ventura

SRTC Staff said...

You're right Ventura. The City says they will send parking enforcement when contacted by citizens, but I've never tried it so am not sure how the follow- through rates. The following is off of the City's website:

Our officers also respond to specific enforcement problems in residential neighborhoods when contacted by citizens on a case-by case basis. Requests for neighborhood enforcement may be submitted anonymously to prevent or minimize potentially negative feelings among area residents.

Initial neighborhood enforcement efforts usually, but not always begin with warning notices being placed on vehicles allegedly parked in violation of appropriate Spokane Municipal Code(s) - please refer to the "documents" section of this web page for specific information on parking ordinances.

An officer will usually enforce all apparent parking violations present on the same block face or immediate area, whether those violations are directly related to the specific citizen request or not. Follow-up enforcement is normally continued until reasonable compliance is achieved.

For further information on parking related issues, please contact the Street Department at (509) 232-8802 or E-Mail at: info@spokanestreets.org.

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.