Smoothing out the way

2016-05-24 06:00
The walkway linking Chevrolet Crescent and AZ Berman drive is broken, uneven and in a bad state. A repair project in line with a City policy will soon see this ramp and others replaced with more accessible walkways.  PHOTO: Maleekah Gelderblom

The walkway linking Chevrolet Crescent and AZ Berman drive is broken, uneven and in a bad state. A repair project in line with a City policy will soon see this ramp and others replaced with more accessible walkways. PHOTO: Maleekah Gelderblom

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After suffering a stroke, one Beacon Valley man and his wife have had trouble going about their daily lives.

Now bound to a wheelchair during his recovery, Ebrahiem McLean says it is difficult for him to lead a normal life due to potholes, loose paving, broken ramps and uneven surfaces.

His wife, Galima, says they did not notice how inaccessible their area was for disabled people before Ebrahiem was confined to a wheelchair.

“I always knew there were problems, but we see it more now that we are going through it ourselves,” says Galima.

The couple are both pensioners and have been living in Beacon Valley for more than 30 years.

Because of his condition, Ebrahiem needs to visit the day hospital for check-ups and medication.

What should be a quick 800m journey to the hospital and Town Centre has become a dangerous trek along main roads, competing with traffic, says Ebrahiem.

His wheelchair has already been for repairs three times.

The couple believe this is as a result of uneven surfaces.

“If the roads were accessible I would be able to help him and take him to the hospital, but I can’t. Everyone you get to help needs to be paid and we are pensioners,” says Galima.

She says there are about 12 disabled people in wheelchairs living in their surrounds, and they all have the same issues.

But Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport, says this could soon be fixed as plans to replace the ramps are on the cards.

“Transport for Cape Town, has just commenced with the repair work of the walkway and the ramps at Chevrolet Crescent as well as AZ Berman Drive. This forms part of a capital project that is already ongoing,” says Herron.

The funding for the repair of the walkway and ramps along AZ Berman Drive and in Khayelitsha amounts to about R22 000.

“The City is committed to universal access and to making the city accessible for those who have special needs. As such the proposed repairs will ensure that the walkways are wheelchair friendly with dropped kerbs and tactile paving at the intersections, indicating to those road users with limited or no eyesight that they are approaching an intersection,” says Herron.

In 2014 Council adopted the Universal Access Policy.

The policy states that all footways, public transport facilities and crossings should be universally accessible, and that all public staff will be made sensitive to the needs of these road users.

This policy outlines an inclusive approach to providing physical accessibility to all and ensuring that all new transport infrastructure and transport services will adequately incorporate the principles of universal accessibility, says Herron.

“We are committed to the visions that are outlined in this policy, even though it may take time to ensure that all of the footways, public transport facilities and crossings are universally accessible,” says Herron.

“The walkways mentioned above will be universally accessible once the repair work has been concluded.”

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