Charlottetown civic board releases barrier-free recommendations

Dave Stewart
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Helena Reeves and Ryan Bulger, members of Charlottetown's Civic Board for Persons with Disabilities, say navigating around the city can be a challenge when road work is taking place or snow blocks some of those roads. A report released Wednesday suggests public works not only inform the public about road work and snow removal, but communicate which sidewalks are affected and recommend alternate routes for the disabled.

Cracking down on people who park illegally in disabled parking spots, cleaning snow off sidewalks faster and quiet rooms are just three examples of how Charlottetown could become more barrier free.

The city’s Civic Board for Persons with Disabilities released a report and recommendations on Wednesday for council to consider as it works toward the goal of transforming Charlottetown into a barrier-free zone.


It follows a brainstorming forum that included various city departments and people with disabilities.

“It’s a huge undertaking to be able to look at so many different angles. The willingness is there (from the city), the desire to help and the fact they want to listen to the public, I think, is great,’’ said Helena Reeves, a member of the board.

Larger fines for people who park illegally in disabled spots is one recommendation but the report also points out that snowplows can be offenders to, sometimes dumping snow at the end of the street where disabled spots are often located, blocking people from using them.

Ryan Bulger, a member of the board who uses a wheelchair, said accessible sidewalks is a big issue for him, especially in winter.

“Maybe a little bit of awareness in terms of the sidewalks and roads . . . during bad weather times,’’ Bulger said.

He’d like to see the city not only communicate to the public when roads are shut down for a public works issue but sidewalks that may be affected as well, and post alternate routes.

Reeves, the mother of a son with autism, also points to areas of the report calling for quiet spaces, soothing colours for those who may be sensitive to light and embrace loop technology that eliminates background noise for the hearing impaired.

Marcia Carroll, executive director of the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities, says the city is showing real leadership by hosting a public forum and releasing a report.

“They’ve started a dialogue. What they continue to do right is have a comprehensive report. What they need to do going forward is create an action plan (and) a monitoring system that can actually check to see if any of these recommendations are being met,’’ Carroll said.

“There needs to be a three-year plan that looks at long-term goals with budget implications but there also needs to be short-term goals where we can start to move some of these things forward right away.’’

Carroll said the big ticket item for her is removing the notion many people have that those with a disability are limited in their ability.

“With a level playing and the right access, people with disabilities can do and participate in and be included in anything the city does. I think we’re starting to see that philosophy, that mindset changing and we’re seeing action starting to happen.’’



Organizations: Civic Board for Persons

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Wilfred
    March 03, 2016 - 13:38

    To Andrew Cambell I hope your 'vision' will not be a fact. The money would be outlandish, and we already pay enough property taxes to the City. That said, there certainly is needs many places, especially where people have to step on to lawns or into the traffic lane to pass each other. The ad-hoc approach usually used by City Council notwithstanding, it would seem prudent for a plan to be developed based on need and traffic counts. Could we ever be so fortunate? The sidewalk installation by Victoria Park at Brighton Rd. is a perfect example of thoughtlessness. It has created mayhem, where people park and cross to get to the boardwalk, since the cars now have to turn into the other traffic lane to pass the parked cars. It is not an infrastructure development you would expect in 2016. It is said that plans to do the same poor job is slated for the rest of Queen Elizabeth Dr. Amazing the Brighton crowd will stand for that. But then again it is rumored to be a trade off so the tour busses will not be allow to go there this summer. Will be interesting to see how the tourism department will take to that.

  • Linda
    March 03, 2016 - 13:19

    @Andrew Campbell You may go and look at the sidewalk by Victoria Park on Q.Eliz. Dr. to get a picture of what to the line of new sidewalks. It works like hell and looks like hell. This is apparently to be continued all the way along Q.Eliz. Dr. The narrow sidewalk on one side will replace the currant multiuse well marked shoulder. It will make it cumbersome and precarious to use, with 'traffic' in both directions, since there is only one sidewalk. The multi use shoulder on the other side of the street will continue to confuse people, as it is marked for bicycles and not walking. What is being proposed will make it less safe for users of all kinds, not to mention less comfortable, - but apparently it is a come hell or high water decision based on a special election promise by the Mayor, - or so the story goes.

  • Andrew Campbell
    March 03, 2016 - 07:52

    Will this mean that Charlottetown will FINALLY be increasing the width of all sidewalks throughout the city from 3 feet in width to 5 or 6 feet in width and have proper curbing to separate traffic from the sidewalks? And have a sidewalk on each side of all major streets?

  • Joe Doe
    March 02, 2016 - 21:40


    • Louise
      March 03, 2016 - 21:10

      I assume you have reported this to the Council of People with Disabilities?

  • wheel chair bound
    March 02, 2016 - 20:44

    I enjoy travelling to Victoria Park in my chair during the summer months. I usually go via Queen Elizabeth Drive because it is a wide street with marked shoulder instead of sidewalks. They have installed a sidewalk at the lower end of that street, which is not good. I hate going on it, it is too narrow and I can't meet oncoming walkers without them stepping off the sidewalk. It is also bumpy, so I travel on the road instead. With the sidewalk taking up space, I am then out in the car lane, which is not satisfactory either. I am told they will extend the sidewalk all along Queen Elizabeth Drive. This is not good for us using our chairs. I wonder why they do not leave well enough alone, since it much better for us and every one else. Please reconsider that plan the safety ad comfort of wheel chair users.

  • Very Concerned
    March 02, 2016 - 12:48

    Hopefully there is a plan to severely fine people who take advantage of them wheelchair signs on their rearview mirror and it’s their partner at home who is disabled. The dumbass who takes advantage of the wheelchair sign when they are not physically challenged are definitely BRAIN CHALLENGED and stupid.

    • Concerned for you
      March 02, 2016 - 18:22

      I don't know your full mental capacity, but it's not that hard to wrap your head around. People who have those "wheelchair signs" are given them for a reason, and not every single person has to look like they're in a wheelchair to get one. Some people actually have debilitating diseases where they can't walk or move at all, but can bear to move around the next day. Now, it seems like this information might be coming as a shock to you, but don't worry, it'll be okay. Just remember that not every car that has a "wheelchair sign" is going to contain a driver who is either in a wheelchair, or look like they're crawling on deaths door.