CHARLOTTE, N.C. – All the snow and ice in the Queen City is highlighting the major challenges for people in wheelchairs.
NBC Charlotte has learned the city does not have any requirements for clearing sidewalks in local neighborhoods. That means some people in wheelchairs may have to just wait until it melts.
“There is no policy in Charlotte for clearing sidewalks,” says Robert Flanagan with National Seating and Mobility, a wheelchair supplier in Charlotte.
NBC Charlotte asked Flanagan about the challenges of slick sidewalks in Charlotte for people in wheelchairs.
“It’s the same thing every year, ‘when is the city going to do more to help us?’,” says Flanagan. “There are some cities built more for this kind of weather that the property owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks.”
However, the Charlotte Department of Transportation tells NBC Charlotte there are no such requirements in the Queen City. They say being in the South, the snow and ice typically melts quickly.
“Even on a good day it’s very difficult for a person in a wheelchair, the weather just make it that much worse,” says Flanagan.
Flanagan says he understands the challenges with enforcing a sidewalk ordinance. However, he says he’d at least like to see the city add more resources on snow days for people in wheelchairs.
“I’d like to see the transportation department in Charlotte, the CATS system maybe take a look at this, special transportation,” says Flanagan.
NBC Charlotte reached out to CATS about their special service for people in wheelchairs. During bad weather, CATS recommends travelers book a ride as far in advance as possible to guarantee it arrives in a timely manner.
NBC Charlotte also called companies that transport people in wheelchairs and some of them were closed on Thursday, which means even fewer options to get around.