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Heavy snowfall causes accessibility concerns for Calgarians with mobility issues


With as much as 40 centimetres of snow over the past 48 hours and more on the way, people with mobility issues are facing significant challenges getting around Calgary.

While crews are working to keep platforms clear, in many places curb cuts through intersections are impassible for those using wheelchairs or walkers.

"Do you have to go through an intersection? Do you have to wait until snow has been cleared? Can you even get down in that day? You really have to plan that out," explained Sean Crump, accessibility advocate and founder of Included by Design.

"Is it worth going to A, B and C not knowing what navigation may look like?"

The City of Calgary says it has roughly 1,250 priority transit access sites that crews have been working on clearing since Sunday, but the problem for many is how easily the good work can be undone - a passing plow or even stopping just a couple of shovel sweeps too soon.

"Just finish clearing the snow. Make sure the corners of the streets have ramps cleared," said Joanne Dorn with Cerebral Palsy Alberta.

"You know you're already out there freezing, so two more seconds just to make it a little wider, it's going to mean so much to more to that person that comes along after that needs that access to the street.

"You never want to be the guy that always needs help, or you never want to be the guy that gets stuck in the snow, it's kind of like being the guy that falls down in front of everybody. There's a level of embarrassment."

Calgary's bylaws related to clearing of snow and ice give property owners/occupants 24 hours after a snowfall ends to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks bordering their property.

The City of Calgary is also required to clear sidewalks bordering and on city property within 24 hours of a snowfall ending. 

If you spot a sidewalk that needs clearing you can contact 311. Top Stories

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