ANNE C. WOODLEN firstname.lastname@example.org
501 S. Crouse Ave., Syracuse NY 13210
July 15, 2012
Letters to the Editor
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