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Re: “Clearing snow off the sidewalks helps the vulnerable in our community

Residents, visitors, businesses, employers, transit riders, and pedestrians have all paid a very significant price this winter due to problems and failures in snow removal. When people cannot get around in the community, commerce grinds to a halt, people lose pay when they can't get to work or the business closes, businesses also lose out on customers spending money, and not being able to get to needed stores, services and medical appointments impacts us all. Yes, we have received a lot of snow this year; however, if a well structured and enforced plan and policy was in place by The City of Bend, Cascades East Transit, and businesses then the public, and particularly pedestrians, would still have been able to get around. Every person who leaves their home or place of business is a pedestrian, even if only for the few feet it takes to get to their vehicle. Many people do not have their own vehicle to walk to and are full time pedestrians for a variety of reasons. I hear the Dr offices are overwhelmed this year by the number of people who have fallen while trying to get around town. Likely some of those falls were on their own property, although I have personally witnessed several people falling in the public right of way and parking lots. The City and CET only needs to study cities that routinely get heavy snowfall and are seldom bogged down to the point we were this winter. Studying other snow cities should also include implementing key learnings here instead of telling us that those policies or procedures don't work here because of this or that or some other thing. And, every snow removal operator needs to understand that accessible (handicapped) parking spaces are NOT the designated snow storage zone. The demographic group of DMV Placard holders are already very significantly under served for parking availability and many absolutely cannot enter or exit their vehicle without a clear access aisle adjacent to the designated parking space. I believe it is shameful that the City waived fines. If door hanger info cards for the past few years has not motivated property owners to clear snow, then enforcement and fines just might help that problem. The berms that still exist downtown that make it dangerous to get from vehicle to sidewalk is a liability. The City and Downtowner's need to work out a plan for snow removal that does not end up with the public slip sliding over snowy icy berms until spring. The snow removal issue is one that everyone in Bend needs to be prepared to help create a solution. It is good for everyone. Good access is good for Bend.

Posted by CFulkerson on 02/05/2017 at 12:13 PM

Re: “Sides Notes 6/22-6/29

Livability Project and Disability: The focus of the Livability Project was well intended. Unfortunately a very significant aspect for everyone in the community to consider did not make it onto the radar of attendees, in spite of the good intentions of Bend 2030.
Approximately 20% of the population has a permanent disability. Many people experience temporary disabilities from illness, accident, or sports injuries. Disability does not discriminate and crosses all age groups and socio-economic categories. The aging population has the highest rate of disability, with 27.5% of persons in Oregon in the 65-74 age group being disabled. It rises to 53% for folks 75 and older. How many times has Bend been recognized as a great place to visit and/or retire? Seniors and all people with disabilities want and need to participate in life in the community with friends, companions, family and co-workers. Every accessibility challenge for seniors and people with disabilities also impacts their companions and their ability to participate in the fabric of life in the community. If one person in the party relies on mobility equipment, then the decisions about where to go and what kind of activities will depend on accessible elements. Seniors and people with disabilities rely almost exclusively on vehicles for transportation to shopping, dining, events, activities, tourism, getting to work and all manner of interests. And, the vehicles used for transportation also need to be able to park. People who rely on DMV issued parking placards are seriously under served by the mere minimum standards for required numbers of designated parking spaces.
This is just a snippet of information that attendees would have learned if even one of them had chosen to visit the Disability for a Day workshop. You read that right. Not even one registered participant came to the disability workshop. We filled the lobby of the Health Careers Center, so it is not as though the workshop could not be found. The ironic thing is that every one of the 200+ people who registered and who were so interested in the livability of Bend will at some point in their life or the life of a loved one, will experience the challenges that so many in the community have to deal with on a daily basis - 26 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disability is a reality. It is an issue that needs to be seriously planned for, for the benefit of every citizen and visitor to this community. Accessible elements serve everyone!

Posted by CFulkerson on 06/25/2016 at 11:21 AM

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