Group files a list of things that impede

Staff WriterAugust 16, 2008 

— On Estes Drive near the Franklin Street intersection, there's a large pipe jutting through the sidewalk.

Now, if you're in a wheelchair, that presents a major obstacle.

But it's hazardous even if you have the use of your legs. You might trip, or it might send you into the street to go around it.

That's the point the Orange County Disability Awareness Council is trying to make by sending the town a a laundry list of "environmental barriers" to making Chapel Hill easy to get around.

"All these issues we're pointing out could be universally acceptable and useful for everybody," said Timothy Miles, executive director of the council.

"This isn't just for disabled people. It's for everybody."

Among other concerns outlined in an e-mail message sent to town officials in late July:

* Many bus stops aren't well lit or have no light at all.

* Businesses that put signs or tables and chairs on the sidewalk make it hard for disabled people to navigate.

* A chirping sound on a crosswalk signal sounds too much like a bird call and can confuse the visually impaired.

* Transit drivers who stop in front of grassy areas make it difficult for people in wheelchairs to board;

* Numerous roots and other impediments protrude through the sidewalk.

Chapel Hill Town Manager Roger Stancil said he hasn't had a chance to address the concerns. He said he would send the complaints to the appropriate departments and ask for an action plan.

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