The proposed Salmon Arm underpass uses an outdated design of more than 20 years that fails to take into account modern accessibility guidelines.
The design of sidewalks are important to all pedestrians, but especially important to those with mobility challenges who have limited travel choices and rely most on pedestrian infrastructure.
Traditionally, design parameters have been based on the “standard pedestrian,” a fit person with good vision, hearing, and mobility. These design parameters do not meet the needs of the growing aging and disabled population.
Under its current design, the proposed underpass grade is eight per cent and accessibility guidelines tell us that sidewalks and ramps should be no steeper than five per cent. Calgary will no longer build underpasses with a grade steeper than five per cent. Other cities around the world will go no steeper than three per cent.
There is a good chance that if these issues are ignored, the underpass will have to be retrofitted in the future at significant cost.
We have an opportunity to build this underpass in a way that meets the needs of all our citizens but the current design does not do so. We need to build this piece of infrastructure in such a way that it will truly make our town flourish.