Sunalta sidewalk construction leaves pedestrians to ‘fend for themselves’

On one side of the crosswalk there is a designated detour, however, it does not have a ramp or a connecting route for pedestrians. Photo: KIRSTEN PHILLIPS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Sections of a Sunalta sidewalk are creating a hazard for pedestrians, including one instance involving an elderly man.

A torn out sidewalk at the intersection of 12 Avenue and 15 Street SW is forcing them to avoid debris by walking onto the road without a designated detour, according to area residents.

Multiple people on Twitter have expressed their concern for pedestrian safety and have contacted 311 regarding the issue.

The sidewalk at either end of the intersection is completely torn out, with no ramps, causing further mobility issues for pedestrians maneuvering around the curb.

Last weekend, Julia Wiwchar and her friend came across an elderly man collapsed in the street, who was trying to get back to his home a block and a half away.

“He was lying on his face with his legs almost up in the air, over his walker,” Wiwchar said.

After helping the elderly man up, he explained he fell trying to go down the curb and got himself tangled up in his walker, she said.

A curb and debris act as obstacles for pedestrians to figure out on their own, on either side of the torn out sidewalk. KIRSTEN PHILLIPS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

A lot of thought and care goes into putting in detours whenever driving lane construction is being done to ensure the interruption to traffic is minimal, however biking and pedestrian routes seem to leave people to fend for themselves, Wiwchar said.

“Even when there is the detour, it could be like a 20 minute walk difference that that they’re expecting people to do. Which is craziness,” Wiwchar said.

“The difference between the way that drivers and pedestrians are treated is kind of ridiculous.”

The City ‘is working on it’

When asked to comment on the situation, the City sent a statement from Colin Chapman, project manager for the 12 Avenue SW improvements project:

“Maintaining safe pedestrian routes during construction is a priority for The City,” wrote Chapman.

“We are working with the contractor to provide updated signage for the pedestrian detour currently in place as part of the 12 Avenue SW improvements project.”

At the intersection of 12 Avenue and 15 Street SW, the left side of the avenue’s sidewalk is torn out at either side of the crosswalk. KIRSTEN PHILLIPS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

As of Thursday, nothing had been changed to fix the area.

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