Oregon Department of Transportation employees on Thursday tried to navigate some Bend streets in manual wheelchairs.
The Central Oregon Coalition for Access puts on the “Disability for a Day” program each year, hoping to give employees a look at the struggles people in wheelchairs have just getting around town.
“I’ve heard a lot of comments today like, oh wow, I had no idea; or they’re complaining about upper body discomfort,” said Carol Fulkerson, with Central Oregon Coalition for Access. “One of them, the grips on their wheelchair got wet so they were having a hard time navigating with the wheelchair. Just the day to day stuff that people with disabilities deal with routinely.”
Fulkerson said she hopes the experience helps ODOT engineers and managers keep the struggles in mind as they design intersections, crosswalks and other transit-related projects.
Similar events have taken place across the region for more than a decade.