Sidewalks even worse for wheelchair users

LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – We’re running out of places to put the snow.

As a result, the walkways in your neighborhood may be getting narrower and narrower, if you can see them at all.

Pedestrians, in general, are having trouble, but people with disabilities are feeling the worst of it.

“It’s impossible. I saw a poor man the other day in a wheel chair and just felt so bad for him and there was just no where for him to go, but out into the middle of the street,” said Peggy Paldyga from Feeding Hills.

“Shoveling and snow blowing the sidewalk is great, but unless you clear the space between the sidewalk and the street then that ramp is going to remain in accessible for people who need to use it for a wheel chair.”

If those sidewalk ramps are blocked by snow, someone in a wheel chair might be forced to go up a driveway to the sidewalk, or to travel in the streets, a dangerous alternative.

Angelina Ramirez works for Stavros Center for Independent Living in Springfield, she’s heard of lots of problems from wheelchair users trying to get around even the cleared sidewalks.

“The snowy sidewalks, most people don’t remove or remove only enough for pedestrians. It’s a good idea to remove snow about THREE feet wide at the very least so that people can maneuver around,” said Ramirez.

So next time you’re snow blowing your sidewalk, make sure you clear a wide path and get the ramp at the corner too.

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