The Connective Corridor and Wheelchair Users

ANNE C. WOODLEN                        

501 S. Crouse Ave., Syracuse NY 13210              


July 15, 2012


Letters to the Editor


Clinton Square

Syracuse, NY 13202


Re: Connective Corridor and Wheelchair Users


To the Editor:


The situation is absolutely intolerable regarding wheelchair access in the Connective Corridor.


Construction has torn up University Avenue, Crouse Avenue, Irving Avenue and East Genesee Street. This impacts about fifty wheelchair users who live at the corner of Crouse and Madison, as well as wheelchair users trying to access Rosewood nursing home, SUNY Upstate’s Institute for Human Performance, Hutchings Psychiatric Center and Crouse Hospital.


I have had one meeting with engineers from the city and Barton & Loguidice. The meeting did resolve two small, specific issues, but the greater situation is worse than ever.


1. Streets, the bike path and the sidewalks change accessibility from day to day without any advance notice. A route that is open one day is closed the next day without warning.

2. Signage is absent or inappropriately placed, e.g., there apparently is a path in front of Syracuse Stage but for weeks I did not know it was there because it was inside the construction zone, could not be seen and had no sign. On another day there was a sign on E. Genesee that blocked my access to the building next to the Ronald McDonald House, where I had an appointment.

3. In the intersections of both Crouse and Irving, neither sidewalk on either side of the street is usable.

4. This forces wheelchair users out into the street, which presents us with the opportunity to get hit by cars. On Genesee Street, the intersections at Crouse and Irving are cut with a wide swath that is extremely uneven, frequently too steep for safe use, and “paved” with stones that are horrific to traverse in a wheelchair.

5. On E. Genesee St., west of Irving, the south side is completely closed. The north sidewalk has a steep grade in the middle, and the curb cut at the end is broken.

6. All of this means that the only wheelchair option is to take to the street, however, E. Genesee St. has been reduced to two very narrow lanes that do not permit a car to go around a wheelchair. Consequently, vehicle drivers are crossing the double yellow line in order to get around wheelchairs, which puts them facing on-coming traffic. One day this week, a driver making a left-hand turn onto Genesee Street nearly hit another driver who had crossed the yellow line.

7. Additionally, work trucks are being parked–and left without drivers—in the bike path on University, therefore making that path unusable.

8. Water hoses are repeatedly being left lying across sidewalks and the bike path, making them also unusable.

9. It is impossible to get out of the driveway of the Genesee Grande Hotel because the street surface is so broken and uneven.


I am utterly outraged about this whole situation. Not only is it terrible, but it is a different kind of terrible every day. I don’t even know where to start to make suggestions to fix the multiple and continuous problems. This has been going on week after week, beginning in June 2011, and there seems no end to it.


Life in a wheelchair is hard; it is horrific to have it made so much harder because construction people simply won’t plan appropriately. And for what? Poor, sick people in wheelchairs struggle with this every day, while the city and the university build a “connective corridor” that is horrendously expensive and wholly unnecessary.


If the city does not bring the construction company and the project under control then I will go to the U.S. Dept. of Justice and see if I can get an injunction to shut down the whole project until appropriate plans are developed for the safe accessibility of wheelchair users.


University students do not need lights, flowers and bike paths at the expense of disabled city residents who can’t even get across the street.



Anne C Woodlen


About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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