Man in wheelchair can’t get to bus stop safely because of sidewalk damage

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DENVER -- A Denver man asked the FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers for help after he said a jagged sidewalk in disrepair made it impossible for him to safely reach his bus stop.

“Neither my wife [n]or I drive,” Terry Meyer said. “We take the bus or we walk.”

Meyer said he only recently noticed the problems plaguing those who use mobility devices.

“I see obstacles everywhere that I never even thought about,” he said of navigating city sidewalks and paths.

His doctor only recently insisted he rely on a wheelchair.

“I have severe osteoporosis and I have some arthritis in my knees, and it's just age is what it is,” Meyer said.

That’s when he first realized the rough patch, on the narrow sidewalk leading to the bus stop, would block his path.

“It's not smoothed out,” he said. “It's like this with big dips and there's just no way any wheelchair could go through it.”

The sidewalk appears to have been damaged. Someone tried to patch it by pouring asphalt over it. Meyer took cellphone video to show the dangers from his perspective.

“And as you see on the video, that's where I got stuck trying to turn around,” he said.

He had to get out of his chair to prevent falling. And now, every time he wants to reach his bus stop, he said he is forced to go into lanes of traffic on West Exposition Avenue and South Federal Boulevard.

“Which is a really busy intersection, and it's a bus route with four or five buses an hour going through there,” he said.

Meyer said he uploaded the cellphone video and photos to the city’s Pocketgov.org app and called 311 about a month ago, but he was still waiting for results. He said he looked for alternate routes, but only found more obstacles.

“If I went around the block and tried to come back to it, there’s a whole stretch of sidewalk that’s just missing and it’s just dirt,” he said. “I tried that one day and I discovered that I couldn’t go through there. There’s a whole section maybe 20 feet long that’s just dirt.”

He even looked into traveling farther to other bus stops.

“Sometimes it’s a time issue,” he said. “You’ve got the buses timed. I know what time I’m getting there for a particular bus. And when winter comes, it’ll be even worse. I can’t go into the street at all, and if I’m out in the snow, then I’ll have to go extra blocks in the cold snow.”

He said he just wanted to see the sidewalk on his route repaired before winter.

“I don’t feel it should be my responsibility to go out of my way,” he said. “I feel the city should fix it and I think they’re normally good about fixing things. But this is something they’ve dropped the ball on and I’d like them to look into it.”

A spokesman for Denver Public Works said they would send out a right-of-way inspector on Wednesday to determine who would be responsible for fixing the sidewalk, noting generally, it is the adjacent property owner who is responsible for the installation, repair and maintenance of all sidewalks within the public right-of-way in Denver.

If the sidewalk was found to be in need of repair, the spokesman said the inspector would notify the property owner that they must repair it. And if the property owner does not make the repairs, the city will do so at the property owner’s expense.

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