KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Uneven sidewalks and crumbling curbs in the metro may be an inconvenience for many people, but for others it is downright dangerous.
Independence is an extremely important word for those of us with disabilities,” disability advocate Susie Haake said.
She lives just off of the Country Club Plaza and it is her playground.
“This is my place to be out in the world, to learn and to share and to eat and shop and spend money,” Haake said.
The sidewalks and curb ramps that have crumbled over the years, makes is tough for many people who use wheelchairs, canes, walkers or even push baby carriages to get around.
In many places, Haake is forced out into the street. Even at some of the busiest intersections on The Plaza, like Ward Parkway and Broadway.
“I crossed the street and realized I can’t get up it because they resurfaced the street, but they didn’t bring that resurfacing up to the level of the curb ramp,” Haake said.
In that location, Haake must drive her electric wheelchair about 50 feet down Ward Parkway to get onto the sidewalk which she says is a scary situation.
Two years ago, the citizens of KCMO voted for a bond to fund the GO KC Project to fix these types of problems. 168 intersections fixed last summer, another 409 to come.
“Right now we are investing a lot of money into fixing ADA curb corners all over the city,” KCMO Communications Director Chris Hernendez said. “So, it is a huge project for us right now to make sure that every corner across the city is ADA compliant.”
But issues on The Plaza could be a bit tricky. The Plaza has an agreement with the City that Plaza management is responsible for sidewalk and curb improvements in the shopping district.
“The particular issues you presented today, the question right now is how many of those fall under that agreement versus how many are other issues. And that is what we are diving into right now,” Hernandez said.
“That has been in question for years and we all need to sit down at the table and figure this out,” Haake said.
A city inspector has been assigned to assess the ADA issues around the plaza and determine who is responsible for fixing the deterioration.