COLORADO SPRINGS – One Colorado Springs neighborhood says their uneven sidewalks are causing headaches for some residents, limiting their mobility and they want them fixed.
Sheila Howland lives in that neighborhood on South Corona Avenue and says she’s been reaching out to the City of Colorado Springs with concerns that nobody can walk across the sidewalk in front of her home safely.
As she walked across the sidewalk herself, she stopped at a slab of concrete, lifted to the point of passing her ankles, asking: “Can you walk across it without tripping?”
“This needs to be dealt with,” she said.
But when she reached out to the City of Colorado Springs recently, they gave her a one-year wait time, which they attribute to a backlog of requests.
This map shows the number of sidewalks the city’s responsible for.
“We’re working hard and diligent to make that we’re going to do as much as possible with what we have,” said Robert Hernandez, the Title II ADA Manager with the City of Colorado Springs.
They’re hiring more people, including five inspectors and one administrator to tackle those requests.
But in the meantime, Howland sees children and parents avoiding these sidewalks altogether.
Even more worrisome, she says, folks with limited mobility are forced to do the same.
“They’re going up the road! People with wheelchairs going around the cars,” she pointed out.
People with wheelchairs like Gary Lovelace. “I go on the road,” Lovelace said, “It’s not safe but I don’t have a choice.”
He took his wheelchair onto the sidewalk just once and immediately regretted it.
“I went down the sidewalk and I hit one of the gap things and crashed,” he recalled. “So I don’t go the sidewalk.”
He’s toughing out to keep his active lifestyle.
“It’s bad enough being in a wheelchair,” he said. “But then when you’ve gotta face all these obstacles, you know, it’s not fair.”
While the city faces their own obstacles like a large population and lots of sidewalks, they say they want to fix this as soon as possible.
“The mission is to eventually bring Colorado Springs where it’s equivalent for all,” Hernandez added.
But “eventually” is a long time to wait for all the folks in this neighborhood.
“[It’s] not just my sidewalk,” Howland said. “[It’s] everybody’s sidewalk in this neighborhood.”
News 5’s Jessica Barreto asked the City of Colorado Springs for an update on this case and since she brought it to their attention this request involves a man with disabilities, therefore making it an ADA issue, Public Works Director Travis Eaton confirmed they’ve changed the wait time for repairs to just one to two weeks.
In an email to News 5, Eaton said, “We prioritize ADA/ accessible route issues ahead of general maintenance repairs and replacement.”
GoCoSprings, the city’s free app, also allows people to report issues right from their phones.
It uses GPS, so it sends the city the exact location of the issue.