Elizabeth Banson was struck by a car and killed on Delmar.
An advocate for people with disabilities (Ms. Banson was in a wheelchair in a traffic lane)is quoted about the tragedy in the local newspaper. The advocate says that the accident shows no one cares.
The advocate is right to be angry and saddened. However, she is very wrong when she says no one cares. City residents do care — very much — and we have been doing something about it.
There are hundreds of miles of streets in the City with good sidewalks and curb-cuts; conversely, there are hundreds of miles of roads in the suburbs with no sidewalks at all. The City has invested nearly $8 million building ramps at intersections. We also have worked hard to identify, create, fund, publicize, and improve the services necessary to make our City a livable place for everyone.
According to her brother, Ms. Banson lived where she lived not in the suburbs and not in a neighborhood with better sidewalks and curb-cuts because it was near services she could only find in the City and because the City has most of the region’s affordable, accessible housing.
But, the activist, perhaps distraught, uses her media opportunity to shoot the people working to make things better-- instead of the people who really don’t care.
The City has aggressive programs to improve sidewalks and create curb-cuts. The suburbs do not. The City has affordable, accessible housing. The suburbs do not. The City has a range of social services for people with disabilities. Most suburbs do not.
If there turns out to be a private property owner who didn’t maintain or repair a sidewalk as required, he will be cited and punished. As we go forward, the City needs to keep on with its own programs of encouraging accessible housing and transportation. And the suburbs and the advocates need to catch up.