Blind citizens want sidewalks

You may take sidewalks for granted. You may not even realize where they are and where they aren't, but sidewalks and safe crosswalks can be lifelines for people who are blind or have other physical challenges. Blanche Griffin has been blind since she was 23.

"One thing that is mostly aggravating is not being able to drive. You have to depend on people to drive you, and public transportation and sometimes that can be reliable and sometimes not," said Blanche Griffin.

This means Griffin and people like her must often strike out on their own.  It's the sidewalks that take them to their destinations.  But many streets in Albany don't have sidewalks.

On one side of North Magnolia it's very easy for the blind and able bodied to get where they need to go because they have a sidewalk available to them, but when they get to the other side of North Magnolia there is no sidewalk, making it much harder for the blind and able bodied to walk down the road.

"I'm a very active person and I'm a fast walker but it's not safe to be fast when you don't have a sidewalk," said Griffin.

Even when there is a sidewalk, folks with physical challenges can face dangers.  Griffin once ended up at a hospital after walking on a sidewalk that wasn't in good shape.

"Well I've had an incident in the early 90's that the impurity of the sidewalk made me trip, because at the time my cane didn't catch it and I kind of like flipped," said Griffin.

Incidents like that led Griffin to spend a lot of time advocating for people with disabilities, and that's what she did tonight when Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard attended the Albany ARC's Blind and Visually Impaired Peer Support Group meeting.

Mayor Hubbard listened to concerns. She hopes the city can make some improvements, but she said money is tight.

"With budgets being as they are, we have to look at how much it's going to cost us and of course things gone up," said Dorothy Hubbard, Mayor of Albany.

Mayor Hubbard says the city has spent SPLOST money in the past on sidewalk improvements, but there are no plans in the works yet to fix the specific areas the group brought to her attention tonight.

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