As he walked toward a bus stop along busy E. Broad Street, Jeff Tengea stated the obvious: "It's very dangerous."
That's because he has to walk along E. Broad Street, toward traffic that is zipping off I-270. There's no sidewalk along E. Broad Street leading from Cardinal Park Drive.
But that's going to change.
The city plans to build a sidewalk there by next year as part of a project to make 20 bus stops fully accessible.
To do that, the city will install 4,950 feet of sidewalks, 13 passenger pads and 34 curb ramps. The project, which will cost nearly $800,000, is meant to ease the way for people with disabilities.
"It provides access to bus stops above and beyond" the Americans with Disability Act, said Brian Hoyt, a spokesman for the Central Ohio Transit Authority.
COTA is designing the project this year. A $638,194 federal grant will pay for most of the work, with the city picking up the rest of the tab.
Officials picked bus stops that lacked sidewalks and are heavily used by people with disabilities. The final selection was based on fixed-route ridership numbers.
Such projects are necessary, said Stacy Brannan, spokeswoman for Disability Rights Ohio. "For people with disabilities, transportation is always a critical issue," she said. "Making it easier is always better."
The bus stop at E. Broad and Cardinal Park is close to apartments and an assisted-living center. When told that people have to walk along Broad to reach the bus stop, Brannan said: "That is crazy."
The project will improve accessibility not just for disabled people but also other riders, said Mary Ann Frantz, principal planner for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, which recommended the grant. "It includes people with baby strollers so they don't have to walk through the mud," she said.
Rick Bass trudged through the snow in sneakers the other day to reach his bus stop at E. Livingston Avenue and S. Yearling Road.
He said a sidewalk "would be nice," before jumping on the No. 1 bus heading Downtown.
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