Intersection 'just nasty'

It was a harrowing experience for Catherine Lance.

On Thursday, the Vernon resident watched helplessly as a visually impaired woman walked out into traffic at one of the busiest intersections in the city.

Lance called out to the lady to try and get her attention and three women ran out of the nearby KFC and brought the woman back to the sidewalk.

The woman told Lance her guide dog was likely not able to distinguish where the sidewalk stopped and the road began at the intersection of 32nd Street and 32nd Avenue and therefore did not know where to stop.

“She said she got turned around as there is no curb to alert her dog to stop,” said Lance.

“The city needs to realize road repairs are not just for traffic. Us pedestrians and disabled people need those issues fixed also.”

Lance posted about the incident on the Vernon & Area Community Forum with many people telling their own stories of the intersection.

A quick tour of the intersection reveals the sidewalk and road are quite close to the same colour, which is why the guide dog did not notice the change.

Lance uses a wheelchair to get around and she said the intersection is known to those with challenges for how hard it is to navigate.

Lance said on the eastern side of the cross walk by the northbound lane “there is a large drain right in the middle of the sidewalk slope that makes it difficult for wheels to safely enter traffic.”

This is not the first time people with mobility issues have raised concerns over that particular intersection.

In November 2018, Castanet spoke with Debbie Moore whose daughter, Katie, uses a wheelchair and she spoke of how dangerous the intersection can be.

Debbie said she hopes the city will address some of the downtown issues around sidewalks, especially at the intersection of 32nd Street and 32nd Avenue where the lowered part of the sidewalk where it meets the street do not line up with the crosswalk so those in wheelchairs have to briefly go into the traffic lane to cross the street. 

Katie has launched a website where people can get information on what buildings are wheelchair friendly, what ones need better access and what areas of town need to be improved for the safety of those using wheelchairs.

Castanet contacted the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure who said it was a city problem.

An official with the city was not available for comment.

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