Amputee says new bike lanes will limit access on Dalhousie campus
A Halifax woman says the city’s plan to build protected bike lanes on Dalhousie University’s campus is pitting the able-bodied against the disabled.
Accessible parking spaces will be relocated once the bike lanes are put in place and Marcia McIntyre says that will limit her access to buildings on campus.
“There are 17,600 accessible tags in the city and there are little over 200 accessible parking spots in HRM,” says McIntyre, who has had a prosthetic leg for 56 years.
There are nine accessible parking spaces on University Avenue, but they will be moved to side streets and to the Killam loop when the bike lane is built. One accessible space will remain in front of the provincial archives.
“Our sense is that moving existing accessible parking spots to side streets is a fair and equitable approach,” says Nathan Rogers of capital planning at Dalhousie University.
Dahousie says it wants to move forward with the pilot project before the fall semester begins and they hope to have the bike lanes installed by the end of June.
But McIntyre wants to the university and the city to put the project on hold until more consultation has been done.
“I talked to someone from Dal and I asked them, had they actually walked the distance where they’re moving them with someone who was disabled and the answer was no,” she says.
“We worked very closely with Dalhousie’s accessibility office, as well as we’ve also consulted with the Municipal Accessibility Committee,” says city spokesman Brendan Elliot.
McIntyre says moving the bike lanes to the inside of the street, next to the median, would be a fair compromise.
“Don’t take away from the disabled or seniors with tags to accommodate the able-bodied.”
The city says the project can be revised if the bike lane causes problems for people with disabilities over the next two years.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Sarah Ritchie