I am a senior who has no car. In the summer I use a bicycle almost daily. In winter I am mostly on foot.
Two days ago I was out with my dog at 6:30 a.m. and saw a sanding truck from the city cruising around looking for slippery spots to spread some salt on, but he could hardly find any in my neighbourhood. The roads were virtually all bare pavement.
But the sidewalks were treacherous – bumpy ice with smooth ice areas between. There had barely been any grit put down, no salt as far as I could tell. And no one was doing anything about them.
As usual, all the focus and money was going into convenience for car drivers but the pedestrians were left to fend for themselves.
I live on Brunswick Street, near the PAL Lodge. There was an event for seniors. I saw three struggling along the sidewalk with their walkers. There were dreadful ridges where private snow clearing operators had dumped piles of snow right across the public sidewalk, and the city had left them to thaw and then freeze into ice. The people had to go out onto the street to get around them.
There is a man who lives down my block who walks with either a walker or a cane. His doctor had told him to get out three times a day for a twenty-minute walk for his heart.
But that meant walking on the roadway even though the pavement was much narrower because ice and snow had built up along the curb. Some cars were respectful and slowed down as the passed him, but several were not. One even honked at him.
The same problem faces young parents with small children in strollers trying to give them some healthy fresh air and exercise.
I have attended the meetings to improve pedestrian and bicyclist access in Stratford. I believe that they may result in some improvements.
But they were all about bicycle lanes or paths, mostly meant for recreational use. People talked about how nice it would be for the summer theatre visitors who would spend more money in shops. Nobody talked about winter, about seniors, about people falling and living with a broken hip.
Could someone please try to do something to level the playing field for the people who live here all year, who have to live with poverty or old age, whose health and safety depend on access to sidewalks to get to buses, appointments, stores, medical appointments and who will, almost certainly have to walk some distance year-round to get to their mailboxes when the post office takes away their door-to-door delivery this year or next.
Surely not all members of council are entirely focused on bringing factories to the city, to installing expensive wi-fi systems, and to thinking only about tourism.
Couldn’t someone assemble a few council members to work together for ordinary citizens?
Gerard Brender à Brandis