Days after freezing rain coated much of Edmonton with ice, people with mobility issues are the ones having the most trouble navigating un-cleared sidewalks.
“I won’t go anywhere I don’t feel safe, I specifically avoid it,” Christian Zyp said.
Trying to get around ice-covered sidewalks is not only a challenge but it’s a major concern for Zyp as he became a bilateral amputee several years ago after getting meningitis.
Zyp said when the freezing rain first covered the ground with ice he couldn’t leave his house because he was concerned he would fall and need to make a trip to the hospital.
A situation he’s been in before.
“It really is a block for you mentally about being able to go out and you become afraid of your environment.”
Zyp added despite using walking aids and well-gripped shoes — too many areas around Edmonton are still too icy.
“How many walkways are clean? So few, there’s so many city and residential ones and it just makes it impossible for someone like myself to be able to really get out of the house safely,” Zyp explained.
City actively addressing ice issue
The City of Edmonton said crews are out actively looking for and applying sand and salt mix to city sidewalks that need attention.
It is also prioritizing slick areas around recreation and seniors center’s and active pathways.
Stephen Raitz with Paths for People said bicycle commuters are struggling too.
“Some people were homebound, they actually couldn’t leave their home, there was nowhere safe for them to move and we see that as very concerning,” Raitz said.
Raitz said the city is doing a good job clearing “some” bike lanes and paths but that it’s not enough of them.
“But what we’re recognizing in this situation is that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure that it is safe,” Raitz said
The city said while it works to maintain sidewalks, it will take a few days; however, that’s not soon enough for both Raitz and Zyp.
“The last thing you want to be doing is have to pay the price of going to a hospital which already has there own problems already,” Zyp said.
The city does provide free sand in green boxes at community leagues. Though, there have recently been several complaints from people saying the boxes are empty, to which the city said it’s working to re-fill them as quickly as it can.