Friendly to Seniors - Sudbury
On Dec. 3rd 2015 a public meeting was held to determine citizen wishes with respect to the former St. Joe's parking lot. Friendly to Seniors - Sudbury has contributed the following evaluation and recommendation:
This evaluation and subsequent submission and recommendation with respect to Bell Park parking by Friendly to Seniors Sudbury/Amical Aux Aines Sudbury, incorporated and approved as a Charity in 2006 to identify the needs of persons with disabilities and public education through assessment and awareness.
In this regard a review has been conducted with respect to access to Bell Park in connection with the current evaluation of the former St. Joseph's Hospital parking lot for possible use as an entry point to the park.
Points of consideration with respect to present access include the examination of barriers and safety concerns. The best evaluated point of access is at the eastern end of the park, the McNaughton Terrace parking area consisting of a paved parking lot and level entry to the park. However, there is fairly limited parking at this site which is often filled to capacity during the summer months with side streets in the area for some distance accepting the overflow, but creating somewhat unsafe congestion.
There is a level entry point to the park at the bottom of Facer Street off Paris, next to the former St. Joseph’s hospital but no or limited on street parking in the area.
The only other public entry to the park (excluding Science North which charges for parking during the summer months) is off Paris Street across from York Street where two unpaved parking areas exist. Access is across five or six lanes at a signaled intersection. There are steps to the park area and a somewhat circular unpaved crusher dust ramp to the park area close to the amphitheater. A major concern with this entry point is the very busy intersection (Paris at York) with a reported traffic flow of up to 40,000 vehicles per day. The majority of accidents occur at intersections and pedestrians are particularly at risk, especially those of advanced years and with limited mobility.
Of the three options presented for consideration for the former St. Joe’s property there is an obvious safety advantage in having access to the parking area through a traffic controlled intersection on the Bell Park side of Paris Street. The lot is of significant size and being paved offers a better surface for navigation by wheelchairs and walkers and those with mobility challenges requiring a paved surface. The provision of a graduated smooth surfaced tiered ramp from the parking area to the park would satisfy the needs of those using walkers or wheelchairs or who find stairs difficult to navigate.
With the older adult population of Greater Sudbury continuing to increase (now at 30,000 plus) and with physical challenges often accompanying aging there is an anticipated need for safer, more, convenient and accessible entry to Bell Park for this demographic.
Friendly to Seniors – Sudbury endorses the option (number one) as presented at the Dec. 3rd open house to keep 200 parking spaces on the site with the provision of increasing the parking area to the maximum extent possible while providing ramp access to the park area similar to those in options two and three for those with disabilities related to mobility challenges and enhancing the appearance of the area for aesthetic purposes and also to properly identify the facility through signage as providing appropriate access to the park for all users.
John Lindsay, Chair – Friendly to Seniors – Sudbury - December 9th 2015 – www.friendlytoseniors.ca
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