Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wheelchair Accessible Path Installed around Cobblestone Street in My Neighborhood

As I mentioned in my September post entitled Our Love Affair with Cobblestone Streets and Brick Sidewalks, for years there has been a cobblestone street impeding wheelchair access to the Casco Bay Bridge, which connects Portland and South Portland. I took up the cause in May 2013 with this video posted at mycounterpane.com:

video

I spoke with the city manager and he liked my idea in principle, but wanted to make it a walkway through the adjacent Thomas Knight Park instead of over the top of the cobblestones. This wasn’t ideal, but it would still be a huge improvement.

In April of this year, the city manager informed me that funds had been allocated for this project, and it should be completed during the 2014 construction season. I announced this at mycounterpane.com:

video

They cut it close – winter is almost here – but the ADA compliant path is now installed! I am going to enjoy my new access immensely next summer, as are all the other wheelchair users in the area.


video

The effort took 18 months from inception to completion, but it's extremely satisfying to see an idea like this come to fruition.

Note 1: There is still a finish coat of pavement that will be added in the spring, so the city doesn't consider this project 100% complete yet.

Note 2: You earn bonus points if you noticed two things about the last video. First, yes, I am in balance mode in my iBOT wheelchair. Second, yes, my ride down the new trail is displayed at double time. The iBOT doesn't go that fast in balance mode!

7 comments:

  1. I believe you can get anything done with your sweet personality,Love Carole

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  2. That's wonderful news. I hope you spend many, many years enjoying traversing across it!

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  3. Triumphant! You did a good thing that will help many enjoy this area. Good job!

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  4. Yay Mitch! And it isn't just for wheeled users--When I was doing community theatre, and we built a boardwalk across grass to the tent we were performing in--we discovered that many of the seniors were using the boardwalk because it was just so much safer for them. Anyone who is balance-challenged is going to love this path. Cobblestones are lovely but dangerous to the likes of us!
    And hey, I could hear the leaves crunching under your wheels - what a great sound!

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  5. Good work, Mitch! Enjoy the path you blazed!

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  6. Thanks for everyone who will enjoy the smooth ride to the park! I know the cement sidewalk will be more permanent and require less maintenance, but I find asphalt to provide a much smoother, joint-free ride. Your skills as a great communicator benefit many people.

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  7. Thank you all for your supportive comments. Daphne, those leaves you heard crunching were probably under Kim's feet not under my wheels :-) Sandra, you are correct. Asphalt is the best ride for a wheelchair user.

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