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Snowy streets, sidewalks causing difficulties for Calgarians with disabilities

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Wed, Feb 20: The snow and icy conditions in Calgary are making for a tough go for pedestrians – but it can be especially dangerous for those who use mobility aids. Tiffany Lizee spoke with some residents who are struggling to get around – Feb 20, 2019

The snowy, icy conditions in Calgary are making for a tough go for pedestrians, but it can be especially dangerous for those who use mobility aids.

When snow and slush starts to build up it can make an already tiresome, almost unbearable journey. It’s something Patrick White said can be a simple fix if people considered mobility aids when clearing paths.

“A lot of businesses and [home] owners don’t clear the paths and sidewalks and even on a day where it’s very [slushy], you still get big windrows, making it difficult for someone like myself to push with a wheelchair.
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“My hands get all wet and snowy and difficult to grip onto the wheels,” said White.

READ MORE: Snow-covered sidewalks make simple tasks nearly impossible for wheelchair users

Darby Young has a mild form of cerebral palsy and is an advocate for people with disabilities through the group Level Playing Field.

She said when sidewalks and intersections aren’t properly cleared, it’s not only inconvenient but can also be dangerous.

“It puts us in danger because in order to be crossing we actually have to merge into a traffic lane to go around it, instead of being able to go straight across.”

READ MORE: A little bit of snow and ice can be a big burden for the disabled

When conditions are unsafe, it can affect the quality of life for people with mobility challenges.

“When people don’t take the extra time to clear the sidewalks outside their houses, it affects my ability to get out and enjoy life,” Young said.

The city mandates sidewalks be cleared within 24 hours of snowfall and encourages anyone who is having difficulty getting around because of snow build-up, to report the trouble areas to Calgary 311.

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