Ontario hates pedestrians

Driving west on Holt Boulevard in Ontario on Friday, I noted once more the welcome new construction between Vineyard and the Post Office. The buildings look pretty nice, the sidewalks are in place and so are the streetlights.

Unfortunately, this time I noticed something else: The streetlights are smack-dab in the middle of the sidewalks.

What’s up with that? I can forgive that sort of thing in all the ’70s and ’80s sidewalks around the valley because it was so commonplace. We’ve learned a lot about planning since then. Really, though, who in 2008 is allowing light poles to be placed in the middle of fairly narrow sidewalks?

I counted six of them. They’ll be a dandy obstacle course for moms with strollers and people in wheelchairs.

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  • Ramona

    Ontario isn’t the only city that lacks consideration. I griped to you by e-mail some time ago about the placement of lights and control boxes smack-dab in the middle of the sidewalks crossing the Walk, Bike, Ride trail in Rancho.

    Recently, driving north on Hermosa, I watched a young mom jockey a stroller around the obstruction at the trail crossing while her son, not paying attention as toddlers don’t, walked right into the light pole and sat down hard, wailing.

    I pulled over ahead of the family and waited to see if they needed help. Mom gave little guy a hug and kiss and they proceeded on their way.

    As I mentioned in my earlier rant, this situation strikes home with me as my granddaughter gets about by wheelchair. Try bumping roughly 120 pounds of girl and chair up and down a foot high curb sometime. Older folks in chairs or get-abouts and scooters don’t even have that option.

    I discussed the situation with a disabled fellow at the Abilities Expo just last weekend. He gets about in either a chair or a scooter. He said he had encountered the lack of respect for moms and the challenged in many cities. There seems to be a grassroots effort to enlighten city planning commissions but look how long it took to get curb cuts.

    Outraged,

    Ramona

    [Ramona, thanks for the heartfelt and informative note. I've been sensitive to the issue since the mid-'90s when covering City Hall in Petaluma up north. A councilwoman took part in an annual awareness-raiser in which she used a wheelchair for several hours and was shown around town by a wheelchair-user. He took her to supermarkets, clothing stores and various sidewalks around Petaluma so she'd see what disabled people were up against. She was horrified that light and power poles had been planted in the middle of a brand-new sidewalk and ordered the poles moved, despite the cost. The councilwoman, by the way, was Lynn Woolsey, now a congresswoman. -- DA]

  • Ramona

    Thanks, David, for your reply.

    I visited Congresswoman Woolsey’s website and I’m impressed. I may have to move north just so I may vote for her.

    I wish everyone had to spend some time getting about in a wheelchair just to raise awareness of the obstacles these folks face just trying to accomplish the everyday stuff that the rest of us take for granted. Kinda like “spend a day in their shoes” with a twist.

    How about this? High school graduates get handed their diplomas and a wheelchair. ‘Cause I believe the younguns are going to have to be the phalanx for change.

    Ramona