‘I was in so much pain’: Ridgeway man worries about state of Fort Erie sidewalks

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Carl Hansen shows how one of the wheels of his “Me Mover” got stuck in the drop between a sidewalk and adjacent terrain, causing him to fall.
  • Carl Hansen reports a deep fall from a curb on Ridge Road, south of Farr Road.

A Ridgeway man is worried about the condition of the area’s sidewalks after he fell while riding a motorized mobility device.

Carl Hansen said he was riding his “Me Mover”, a three-wheeled pedal scooter to which he had added an electric motor. He was walking his pet Shih Tzu. Dogs being dogs, the pup rushed past Hansen, who swerved to avoid hitting the pooch. One of the wheels slid over an edge of the sidewalk and, with the grassy area adjacent to the walkway being lower than the concrete walkway, Hansen’s vehicle tipped over.

“My left rear wheel left the cement and fell into the grass, which was much lower than the pavement,” Hansen said. “I was just crawling, then – crash – and landed on my left side with all my weight.”

Granted, the fall didn’t result in any broken bones, but there was a lot of discomfort for the 85-year-old asset.

“I was in so much pain,” Hansen said. “I couldn’t even sleep on my left side for two or three nights.”

Although he said it makes sense to say that he – and anyone who rides a bike or scooter – should be on the road rather than a sidewalk, that’s not the reality.

“I don’t blame people for wanting to be on the pavement instead of the road with bikes and stuff because it’s too dangerous on the road,” he said.

He wants the city to do something so that what happened to him doesn’t happen to others.

One solution, he said, is the installation of cycle lanes, so that safety-conscious cyclists do not have to resort to the sidewalk.

“Why isn’t there a bike lane? There are grassy areas that could be turned into a bike path.

In 2020, the city committed to implementing the first phase of a $3.7 million active transportation master plan. It provides for the creation of 282.2 kilometers of sidewalks, cycle paths (100.2 km), paths and multi-use paths (77.6 km). In the first phase of the plan, Basinski said it was recommended the city spend $3.7 million over five years — $747,274 per year — on a total of 28.8 km of the three.

Kelly Walsh, director of infrastructure services for the city, said the city is responsible for any land adjacent to a sidewalk. The city has traditionally set aside $200,000 a year for sidewalk repairs. A list is compiled each year detailing the sections of the city’s approximately 150 kilometers of sidewalks that will receive special attention.

“Our sidewalks are inspected annually by staff and a work list is generated,” Walsh said. “Jobs that can be handled in-house (relatively quick and efficient) are done by staff, but larger jobs such as replacing broken sidewalk signs are done by a concrete contractor.”

Repairing sidewalks is an ongoing process, he added, with issues of sidewalks falling onto adjacent land receiving some of the attention.

“Basically, if a sidewalk has a lip or drop greater than 20 millimeters, we at least try to identify it with a glossy spray paint with the goal of fixing it within a year,” he said. .

In addition to the location in South Mill and Dominion where he suffered his fall, Hansen noted that the sidewalk on Ridge Road, south of Farr Road, also had some issues. He pointed to a fall that, by all appearances, meets city standards.

“Somebody could get really hurt,” Hansen said.

Walsh, meanwhile, said residents should feel free to report concerns by calling City Hall at 905-871-1600.

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: While the city hires hundreds of thousands of people each year to maintain sidewalks, falls between driveways and adjacent lots can be a hazard, as a Fort Erie man discovered. The Post looked at what residents can do.

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