The City of Abbotsford
Seniors and those with disabilities can look forward to some safer and more accessible transit stops in Abbotsford thanks to a unique partnership between the City of Abbotsford, the First West Foundation, Abbotsford Community Services and Community Futures South Fraser.
The Accessible Transit Stops Enhancement Project involves updating two local stops to include grab bars, larger shelter pads to assist user mobility, grooved sidewalks, yellow tactile strips to alert users of the curb and more space in front of the shelter for better access. The Envision Financial Community Endowment housed with the First West Foundation provided $7,500 towards the project, which will see the following bus stops upgraded:
· Westbound on Marshall Road, north of the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre;
· Eastbound on George Ferguson Way, north of Clearbrook Library.
“Accessibility and the overall safety of our transit system is always a priority in Abbotsford,” said Abbotsford Mayor George W. Peary. “By improving these bus stops and increasing the accessibility, our users will have a more enjoyable and safe transit experience.”
Councillor Lynne Harris, Chair of the Abbotsford Mission Transit Committee, adds: “We are very grateful to all of the partners involved in making this project a reality. The improvements at the transit stops will allow all of our citizens to feel comfortable and safe as they travel throughout our community”.
In 2010, the Central Fraser Valley Transit System served approximately 1.9 million people. Seniors, people with mobility challenges, students, youth and commuters were found to be particularly high users and these transit stop upgrades will facilitate improved access for all groups.
Several reports issued in the past two years have highlighted the need to address the safety and mobility concerns of seniors and people with mobility challenges. In 2008, the Centre for Research and Education on Aging at the University of the Fraser Valley estimated there were more than 11,000 people in Abbotsford with mobility challenges, while the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies stated that many Indo-Canadian seniors do not have access to vehicles and rely heavily on transit to get around the city.
“The First West Foundation is proud to provide this grant to the City of Abbotsford so residents can have more independence in their day-to-day lives,” adds Seline Kutan, executive director of the First West Foundation. “Having this kind of freedom is critical to creating a better quality of life.”