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Power Chair Ride in Town During Winter

31 Dec 2019 2:06 PM | Anonymous

 Hello, this is Stephen B.

I wanted to share my time after I left disAbility Connections on a Friday. After I left, using my power chair, I went down to the Habitat store on Prospect, there was no side walk so I rode on the side of the road. Was not bad, motorist’s watched out and merged over when possible.

Then I returned to First Street and Prospect, bummer missed the bus at the corner. Could not get to the sidewalk, the nearby curb cutouts were covered with packed slush. So I started north on First Street. I was thinking downtown is not too far from here. Looking for a place to get off the road and onto a safe place to travel. I went one block and used a driveway to get on the sidewalk, all the corners I passed were blocked with snow.

I could only travel short distance on the sidewalk, some residents had not removed the snow from the sidewalk in front of their home and there are areas in the sidewalk with more than 2 inch different in height. So I decided to stay on the side of the road, going against traffic. I made good time, weather felt little chilly with a mild mist. Next time I will keep better track of street names.

There was one corner that the curb cutout was clean, Greenwood Ave. I went on the sidewalk at the corner of Greenwood Ave and First Street for about a quarter of block, then I was stopped by a difference in height of sidewalk more than 3 inches. Back on the road again only to be met with almost detouring blocking. That part of First Street road has potholes so bad, I almost had to turn around. But I managed to get through the pot holes area, YEAH!

Onward I went, then I heard a male voice yelling. So I stopped and looked around, there was an older man in a power chair on the other side of the road. We met and decided to ride together downtown, He was moving into a new place. He was homeless for a short time. Bill was his name. We made it to his new place of residence and parted ways. I continued to the bus station, but bummer again. I made it just in time to watch the bus leave. So I decided to cruise around downtown and put in an apartment app at Otsego Apartment. Did not go to Elaine apartment, the thought of having an apartment on upper floor did not feel right. For some odd reason heights bother me now.

The downtown sidewalks and curbs were clean. The area was very accessible.

So I went back to the bus station and waited for the E. Michigan bus. The station was clean and the worker was very helpful. E. Michigan bus arrived, so I went to get on. The wheelchair ramp did not work, the driver had to use a bar to deploy the ramp. I feel the equipment needs to operate properly and drivers need to be more focused on driving and their passengers, rather than having concerns of difficulty manually deploying equipment. I exited the bus at Meijer and once again the driver had to manually deploy the ramp. I am going to start keeping track of the bus information.  Sometimes when I ride the fixed route buses, ADA led is not displaying and no audio announcement.  I did my shopping and while I was in checkout JATA reserve-a-ride dispatch called me to let me know my ride is there. They were 25 minutes early. Bummer missed out on chicken strip dinner.  The reserve-a-ride drivers are professional. All the ones that have been my driver. So far I have given every one of them a five star.

What did I learn from my road trip?  In the winter the curb cutouts are not useful when they aren’t cleared of snow/ice, some sidewalk are not shoveled and some areas need repair. There are other people that use mobility devices to get around, it is not only me. The fix route buses need a little more attention in the maintenance area. Downtown area was nice, I need to move in town. Most of all, it felt good to get out and travel.

Hope you enjoy my little story about my trip.

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