OH: A New Sound This Spring: City Improvements Help Seniors and Disabled

Willoughby installed the city’s first audible pedestrian signal at intersection of Par Lane and Ridge Road for better access to Pine Ridge Plaza and surrounding residential areas. 

“I first became aware of the accessibility difficulties after speaking with resident Robert Glover of Pine Ridge apartments,” shared Mayor David Anderson.  “After reviewing the area, we have many residents residing at Lithuanian Center, a senior housing for residents over 55 years old, and Pine Ridge Apartments using this intersection.   With the use of the Laketran bus stop and pedestrian access to Pine Ridge Plaza, plus increase traffic congestion the city recognized a need for better and safer accessibility.”

Robert Glover, 54, moved to Willoughby from Madison for better access to public transportation for employment because he cannot drive due to his blindness.  After completing Laketran’s Travel Training program that provides one-on-one instruction on how to use the bus routes, Glover was still hesitant to cross the street.

“Travel Training isn’t just about teaching a person how to ride the bus.  The goal is to empower people with disabilities to advocate for themselves and express their needs so they can become more productive and independent. When Robert suggested the need of an audible signal, I told him he should approach the mayor or a commissioner.  In Robert fashion, he did both!” explained Pat Pryatel, Laketran’s Community Outreach Specialist who provides travel training for Laketran.

“When you’re without your vision, you need to rely heavily on your other senses.  I could hear the traffic coming, but I never know how long I have to cross an intersection. The majority of intersections across America do not provide ample time for someone to cross.  I am also an amputee, so I’m not that quick,” explains Glover of his difficulties crossing the intersection. “I’m currently job searching and constantly relying on my wife to take me to interviews.  I’m so close to all the independence I need to go on my own and now being able to safely cross the street I more confident of going out on my own.”

Investments

Laketran enhancements:  Laketran installed a sidewalk on south side of Ridge Road to improve the access and safety of the bus stop at the Pine Ridge bus stop.  The $35,000 project improvements were completely paid by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) federal grant funds. Shelters and benches were installed on each side of the street, too.

The two bus stop service Laketran’s Route 2 local bus route connecting Euclid to Mentor and Route 13 commuter express route to Cleveland. 

City of Willoughby enhancement: City of Willoughby’s Traffic Division installed an audible pedestrian signal at a cost of $3,500 funded by city’s general fund.

Pine Ridge Apartments maintains the snow removal of the sidewalk area for daily access.

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