Cathy Johnstone is disturbed that her 93-year-old neighbour has to walk on the road during her daily outings.
Johnstone is disappointed that the City of New Westminster didn't seize an opportunity to make the sidewalks in her Massey/Victory Heights neighbourhood more accessible when sewer lines were replaced in the neighbourhood.
"They didn't replace them with a handicapped letdown," she said. "It is ridiculous."
Johnstone knows of at least three seniors on her street who would benefit from more accessible sidewalks, as well as the parents who push their children in strollers. She said one elderly neighbour walks on the street to get to the nearby grocery store because there aren't enough curb letdowns
Johnstone said she spoke to the contractor who was working on the sewer mains and questioned why the new sidewalks didn't include curb letdowns.
"They said they were specifically told to replace what they took down," she said. "They thought the city had someone else coming to do the curbs."
Johnstone said it doesn't make sense to pay a second contractor for work that could have been done as part of the sewer main project.
"I called them on it," she said. "They redid one sidewalk."
Jim Lowrie, the city's director of engineering, said the city installs about 60 new curb ramps at various locations throughout the city each year as part of its sidewalk accessibility program. The location of new curb ramps is based on input from the city's special services and access committee, active transportation bicycle and pedestrian committee, neighbourhood traffic advisory committee and citizen requests.
"It is our current practice to install curb ramps in all new sidewalk installations, and when restoration is necessary due to underground utility work," he wrote in an email to The Record. "The sidewalk panel that was replaced without a curb ramp on Chilliwack Street as a result of new sewer installation was an oversight on the part of city staff. This has since been rectified, and we thank Cathy for bringing this to our attention."
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