Accessibility is being ignored

Concerns raised about handicapped access to library and transit

Several months ago, there was an article in The Morning Star concerning accessibility for the handicapped. It went on to say how much thought went into planning accessibility for the new library. Unfortunately, they forgot to tell the planners.

Getting to the old library was fairly easy. Catch the bus, get off across the street, all level ground, and when going home, you didn’t even have to cross the street. Now, it means a bus to the new terminal, then a four-block walk, and when you finally get there, you are faced with an uphill slope.

When you do get inside the library, where are the large print and audio books? Past the children’s corner at the front, up the stairs and in the back. Not very accessible. I would really like to decision-makers to know that what they’ve done is take the library away from us and many others. It has just become too difficult, especially at a time when our world is shrinking. This is a huge loss.

Then there is the transit system.

We had a system that was working just fine. To quote a wise man, “the enemy of the good is better.”

Where the terminal was located, you have a large population of seniors and people renting. The majority of those people do not have, or cannot afford, cars to run their errands.

Now, with these changes, you are obliged to walk hauling groceries. Think of the young mother with one or two toddlers and several bags of groceries. Before, she could cross the street to wait with the convenience of a shelter to get her children out of the weather.

A week or two ago, this sad sight was observed at the Safeway stop. An elderly gentleman was waiting for the bus. He got tired and lowered himself to the curb. When the bus arrived, he could not get up. Fortunately for him, there was someone able to help him up. Is this how we are going to treat our senior citizens? Across the street from where the gentleman was, there is a shelter and benches to rest on and wait for the bus.

Why can’t all of the buses turn down 34th Street, then the right on to Coldstream Avenue, pick up the old terminal and then carry on as before? Why can’t the shelters stay? Don’t we deserve to have shelters and benches?

Could the powers-that-be just leave us that much? We are forever being told to keep active, but how can we traverse life’s hurdles if the barriers continue to be raised? I would really like to know why a few people have the power to make day-today activities more difficult for those already struggling.

Now, I’m asking you to please listen and hear what I’m saying. I’m asking you to prove to us, not just lip service, that we are not disposable.

I could go on for a long time to talk about the deplorable condition of our sidewalks, pedestrian lights that only drivers can see and a beautification program that consists of trees that take up half of the sidewalk.

Vernon is not pedestrian-friendly and for the handicapped, it is a nightmare.

Please listen to the people and understand what they are saying.

Erma Soderquist