Crossing to be safer

THE PEDESTRIAN crossing in front of the Willows building on Kalum will soon be safer thanks to the installation of a traffic signal there.

  • Sep. 24, 2012 8:00 p.m.

A PEDESTRIAN-CONTROLLED light will soon be installed at the crosswalk in front of the Willows building on Kalum.

THE PEDESTRIAN crossing in front of the Willows building on Kalum will soon be safer thanks to the installation of a traffic signal there.

It’ll be controlled by those wishing to cross the street.

It was one of three issues presented to council Sept. 10 by a local self advocacy group.

After making the presentation, the group was then told by the city  money for this had already been set aside with work scheduled for either later this year or next.

Secondly, the group asked for council support for increased hours for HandyDart service.

“Its use is critical for many disabled people, especially in the long winters,” said Betty King, one of about a dozen people from the advocacy group at the meeting.

HandyDart is a public transit service designed to accommodate people with cognitive and physical disabilities and is provided to and from accessible building entrances.

The group, in a 400-signature petition presented to council, is asking for full HandyDart coverage for Saturday and the hours to be increased to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

The group also wants the HandyDart service to provide a handicapped taxi for the same fare as the HandyDart when it’s not available.

On weekends and holidays, there is a telephone answering service that provides recorded information.

The group sent a letter to BC Transit with the request only to be told that while it would provide the money if available, the matter of changes to HandyDart is a city issue.

Council will take a look at the request as part of a  transit review now underway, said mayor Dave Pernarowski.

The third issue brought up by the group is for the city to promote, in policy and practice, full access to public buildings and businesses thereby acknowledging the importance of ensuring people have access to places regardless of disability.

One problem that’s been brought up is the heavy double doors that pose a barrier to a lot of people at many businesses and stores.

“Those push button [doors] make it ever so much easier to access,” said group member Bonnie Bruce.

Councillor Marylin Davies said council doesn’t have jurisdiction over private stores, such as Walmart.

Another group member, Margaret Petrick, said she had written and not received a response from the big box store but would be writing to it again.

Tim Hortons and the Salvation Army were cited as places where entrances need to be better designed to allow full access.

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