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Scooter rider says Burnaby sidewalks are harrowing

Wayne McQueen navigates the bumps and broken sections of sidewalk along Smith Avenue in the Metrotown area in his motorized scooter
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Wayne McQueen navigates the bumps and broken sections of sidewalk along Smith Avenue in the Metrotown area in his motorized scooter

The 71-year-old manages to be mobile in his scooter despite having a condition called charcot foot, a result of his diabetes, which can cause the bones in his feet to break if he walks. But he doesn’t understand why a big city like Burnaby can’t get its sidewalks into shape for people like him in scooters or mothers pushing strollers.

 Wayne McQueen has to navigate Smith Avenue on his scooter where, in places, there are no curb letdowns. (Photograph By Maria Rantanen)Wayne McQueen has to navigate Smith Avenue on his scooter where, in places, there are no curb letdowns. (Photograph By Maria Rantanen)

“It’s very hard to manoeuvre with a mobility device,” McQueen said, adding that he’d like to see ramps on all corners along Smith Avenue. “It also would help young women with their strollers to have a ramp.”

At Smith and Sandell, the sidewalk, which is only on one side of the street, ends with no curb letdown, but a pathway going east with bark mulch allows McQueen to eventually cross the street. Father down at Hertford and Smith again there is no curb letdown and McQueen turns east and goes down half a block till he can access the road where there is a private driveway, then he rides along the street until he finds another driveway to get back onto the sidewalk.

In places, there are small, steep inclines on the sidewalk beside a driveway where he gathers speed in his scooter to make it up the hill, something that make him fearful for his safety.

“I could have tipped the thing over backward because it’s too steep,” he said of the sidewalk beside a driveway.

McQueen said he often feels very nervous riding his scooter in traffic as he goes down Smith Avenue to his doctor’s appointment with traffic.

“I think (city officials) need to take into consideration standards for making things mobility-safe – that doesn’t seem to be their priority, that’s just my opinion,” McQueen said, who has lived in Burnaby since 2008.

Marine Drive sidewalks to be fixed within 10 years

The city of Burnaby has flagged the lack of sidewalks on Marine Drive and in about a year will start with plans on how to improve the three-kilometre stretch for pedestrians. Work is not expected to start, however, until about 2020 and it could take up to six years to finish because the length of the stretch.