Dwight Luscombe and Ray Lambert are two seniors who navigate around Medicine Hat on their mobility scooters, which have a range of between 40-45 km/h on a single charge. Lambert has a newer model that can get up to 17 km/h and Luscombe tops out at around 13 km/h, although they usually travel at about 10 km/h on paths.
The entrance into the Cultural Centre at Medicine Hat College had a dip in the asphalt beside where the sidewalk ramps down to cross the intersection. This had been causing the two issues as the dip would cause them to tip over onto three wheels and push them out into the road.
Pat Bohan, managing director of development and infrastructure with the City of Medicine Hat explained they took care of the issue immediately, having received the call on Tuesday of this week and patching the area on Wednesday.
Lambert has a newer model mobility scooter with more safety features.
“There is a gauge in here,” he explained, “and it will only go up a 6 per cent climb or it cuts out. You go up Scholten Hill, and then it curves (at the top) and I have to get out and push.”
The two used to be able to use the older sidewalk, which wasn’t as steep, but now it’s been blocked to divert users to the new pathway.
The city took care to use industry-best practices when they made the multiuse pathway expansion at the top of Carry Drive and connected it to the already existing pathway on the top of Scholten Hill. A couple of motorized scooter operators were consulted regarding Scholten Hill and they suggested some ideas.
“They were just recently raised to my attention,” said Bohan. “We are taking a look at a couple of temporary measures we might be able to take to help out with that situation.”
Three weeks ago the city began work on three traffic and transportation plans: the Transportation Master Plan, the Active Transportation Plan and the Transportation Safety Plan.
“Those three plans fit together and one of the deliverables on the Active Transportation Plan is an accessible, equitable and inclusive multi-modal network. We want to take a much more inclusive view of transportation in our city. That’s why we are doing this all at once,” explained Bohan. “We’ve had so much change in these last, probably eight years.”
Motorized scooters, electric bikes and other electric or motorized modes of transportation have resulted in a complete shift.
“These plans we are embarking on are really important to ensure we get it right for all our residents.”
The plans should be done in a little under a year and the whole idea is for them to be inclusive. However, the city isn’t waiting for the reports before beginning to trial some of the concepts, they are going to get started right away.
Next year, the Division Avenue Road Rehabilitation Project will be undertaken. It will provide continuous sidewalks from the top of Cemetery Hill on Division South all the way to Third Street.
“That’s just one of those mechanisms that we will try to put in place to make our roads, pathways, and sidewalks more accessible to all users.”
There will also be upgrades to Third Street downtown, between Fifth Avenue and South Railway. Traffic calming measures will be installed in Ranchlands within the next few weeks. Bulb outs, or curb extensions, at Fourth Avenue and Third Street will be done in the next couple of weeks as well.
If residents have an issue with roads, pathways or sidewalks, they can call 403-529-8177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with their concerns.
“If they send that into us, we will do our best to try and tackle whatever issues they might have,” concluded Bohan.
By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Aug 15, 2023