‘Inaccessible’ transit driving concerns at rec centre: citizen

Not ‘having a direct bus stop on the recreation centre property itself is a safety hazard and should absolutely be fixed,’ says resident with accessibility issues

A local resident says that inadequate transit routes to the Orillia Recreation Centre is causing accessibility issues for seniors, disabled residents, and families with small children.

Mark Moore, an Orillia resident who lives with multiple disabilities, relies on local transit to get to the recreation centre every week. 

He says the nearest bus stop to the recreation centre is on the other side of four lanes of traffic along West Street South, which can create problems for people with accessibility issues.

“There is no direct crosswalk. To get to the rec centre, you would currently have to walk up to the corner of West Street and Barrie Road, and then cross at that intersection and go back down the other side of West Street to actually get to the recreation centre property itself,” Moore told OrilliaMatters.

“It’s extremely inaccessible for individuals with disabilities, for seniors, for parents or guardians with young children, and for those who don’t have regular access to a vehicle to access the rec centre.”

Although there is a bus stop further along West Street, close to its Barrie Road and King Street intersection, Moore stated the accessibility issues still persist, and there should be a route directly to the recreation centre property.

“It’s still inaccessible and inefficient,” Moore said. “The fact that they have to navigate a public transit system and navigate around a four-lane road without having a direct bus stop on the recreation centre property itself is a safety hazard and should absolutely be fixed.”

Moore stated he currently goes to the recreation centre “once or twice a week,” but that he would go more often if he was able to access the facility more easily. He called on council to bring the bus route to its property in the spirit of National AccessAbility Week, which runs from May 29 to June 4.

“Orillia City Council should commit to rerouting the Orillia Transit South Route onto the Orillia Recreation Centre property so that all facility users have a safe, efficient, and independent way to travel to and from the Orillia Recreation Centre,” he said.

Jeff Hunter, the city’s manager of construction and transit, said the current route was designed prior to the recreation centre’s construction.

“The current route (the South Route) was reviewed as part of the Transit Operational Review, which was completed prior to the construction of the Orillia Recreation Centre,” he told OrilliaMatters in a statement. “When reviewing the routes at that time, careful consideration was given to ensure the route could be serviced by sidewalks for convenience and passenger safety and so as a result, the bus currently only travels north on West Street and stops are on the east side of the street.” 

Hunter said the issue has been previously identified, and that a report will be brought forward to council.

“There are many factors to consider to add a stop for the Orillia Recreation Centre, as it would require a complete redesign of the current South Route,” he said. “This issue has been identified previously, and a report will be brought forward by staff for Council’s consideration regarding this and other transit items.

“As transit route modifications require funding to accommodate changes to stops, etc., it is most likely a request for the next budget cycle,” he explained.

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