Disabled residents say it's hard getting around Albany - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Disabled residents say it's hard getting around Albany

August 3, 2006

Albany -- Some people with disabilities in Albany say it's hard getting around town by wheelchair, and they want to see a change. But they don't think the city isn't doing enough to help them out.

When you add cracks and overgrown plants to the sidewalks, it gets a lot harder. That's why some people say the city needs to step up and make Albany more wheelchair user friendly.

"If I didn't have my belt on I would have done hit the ground," said Audrey Alfieri.

Cracks and uneven sidewalks make it hard for Audrey Alfieri to get around. A rare disease caused her to lose use of her left leg, and she began using a wheelchair five years ago.

"We need the full access of Albany because a lot of us just like to get out and ride," said Alfieri.

Alfieri says she's entitled that much as a taxpayer. But she often runs into bumps in the road.

"I understand that we have cracks, but like that one, that can jerk you," explained Alfieri.

"I want to see these cracked, holey sidewalks fixed," she said.

Some days it's more than just a bumpy ride for Alfieri...

"What's that I just put my chair through? Mud," she said.

"You mean they can't take one guy and give him a truck and a shovel to keep the sand the the dirt out of these ramps," said Alfieri.

Improper care of the sidewalks makes Alfieri feel as if the city doesn't care if people in wheelchairs can get around.

"The handicapped pays taxes just like everybody else, but it's funny that they conveniently forget that we are human beings also," said Alfieri.

As Alfieri rolls on, she says she'll be sure to leave her mark, by letting city officials know it's not that easy for everyone to get around, and without a change it's going to be much harder.

Alfieri has a list of streets that she says were supposed to be repaired and made more wheelchair-user friendly. She says very few changes have been made up to this point. That list of streets was made back in 2004.

Audrey Alfieri has a meeting set up later this month with public works officials to talk about the problems.

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