Lack of wheelchair access to sidewalks a difficulty

An open letter to the City of Everett and its Public Works Department:

My name is Kent McDaniel. I am 39 years of age and I have cerebral palsy and am confined to a motorized wheelchair. I have been unable to walk since birth. I live at Camelot Apartments at 112th Street and Evergreen Way in south Everett.

I do not own a car and I don’t have a driver’s license so I am dependent on Community Transit and Everett Transit for my mobility.

On March 9, I was riding the northbound Swift Bus home from 148th Street and Highway 99. I got to the bus stop on the southeast side of the street. On a normal night I would go west across Evergreen and go a half-block down to the main entrance of Camelot Apartments. However I noticed that the curb cut I needed to use was under construction and not available.

I certainly cannot justify jaywalking, so my only option was to get back on the northbound Swift bus, go almost a mile northbound, cross the street and wait for the southbound Swift to take me home to my apartment at 112th on the west side of Evergreen Way.

Having to do that kind of zig-zagging on a normal day is frustrating to say the least. However, that day it poured down rain all day and was pitch black as I was trying to get home.

The day before, March 8, I needed to go from my apartment to my doctor’s office on 112th Street for a medical appointment, and there as well I was met with more curb cuts that were out of service.

The City of Everett is making my life and my mobility extremely difficult as well as making it potentially dangerous for me to get around. My daily physical care needs are supported by a very caring and kind state health care and service contractor, Service Alternatives which focuses on my strengths of living as independently in the community as much as I possibly can.

Some of my fellow residents at Camelot are also in motorized wheelchairs as well and fixing this problem would be of much help to all of us. I would like the city to send me a letter letting me know when I can expect the wheelchair access curbs cuts in the vicinity to be put back into service.

I would also like a letter of apology from Mayor Stephanson and assurance from his office that the problem will be fixed as expeditiously as possible.

Kent McDaniel lives in Everett.

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