Community groups study pedestrian access in Ladner and Tsawwassen
Tsawwassen isn't pedestrian-friendly enough and local community activist Carol Vignale is aiming to bring that message to local businesses and politicians.
To make her point, she motions to the crosswalk at 56th St. and View Cres. in front of the Starbucks. A person in a wheelchair would have to cross from the north to the south side, go up a letdown (a sidewalk concrete ramp), down a letdown, around a hedge, and then reach for a button partially obscured by foliage. Then they'd have to wheel back to the letdown and cross five lanes of traffic before the light changes.
"It's about identifying public rights of way and getting those rights of way public access," explains Vignale, who is already hurrying on toward the next block during a recent accessibility assessment study.
But she takes the opportunity to speak to a curious employee at the nearby Royal LePage office that the 20-foot letdown puts a priority on cars over pedestrians and makes it more difficult for people to traverse the sidewalk.
Vignale would like to see Tsawwassen's transportation corridors re-designed with an emphasis on the elderly and disabled pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation. This includes transforming 56th St. into a main thoroughfare to enhance the public space and encourage more economic, social, and cultural activity.
She's joined by Ruth Adams, an elder with Tsawwassen First Nation, who is interested in enhancing public access for her community, Dr. Roland Katagi, director with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, among others.
The effort is being coordinated within a broader "walkability" study being conducted by the Delta Seniors Planning Team in all three Delta communities.
The study includes workshops and consultation with seniors in Ladner and Tsawwassen.
"Walking is an option when community streets are safe and barrier free," says coordinator Lynda Brummitt. "This helps seniors to stay active and maintain their independence."
The Seniors Planning Team finished its last workshop in Ladner on Sept. 15. Brummitt says these sorts of consultations are important with seniors, and even those planning for retirement.
As people get older, they may drive less, or not at all, due to physical or financial limitations. Seniors who are physically active will have lower rates of falls and fractures, explains Brummitt, which in turn will provide a better quality of life with less chance of developing chronic health conditions.
Once completed, the results of the study will be forwarded to the Corporation of Delta, and is expected sometime in the fall.