Getting outdoors and appreciating nature is one of the many benefits of living in Eugene. I love walking to the stores and parks. I recently retired and decided to move here so that I could enjoy Eugene’s natural beauty.
As I was walking and exploring the area, I noticed how many sidewalks are in disrepair and include tripping hazards. Other places are inaccessible because of overhanging branches, parked cars, thorny bushes and overgrown hedges. I have seen wheelchair users traveling on the street because the sidewalks are inaccessible. This is a concern for people with mobility disabilities, people who are blind, and elderly people. Accessing our communities is an important human right, and creating accessible and inclusive spaces is a social responsibility.
For the past few years, many cities in America have celebrated Make Way Day on Sept. 30. This day began in Ireland to raise awareness about the needs of people with disabilities in public spaces. Communities come together to make the sidewalks in front of their homes accessible by trimming overhanging branches and vegetation and by repairing cracks and tripping hazards.
I propose that we start celebrating Make Way Day in Eugene. It could be an impactful, community-building and decisive day of action to improve access for everyone. The city of Eugene is a beautiful place to live and thrive. Let’s start our own Make Way Day on Sept.30 and make Eugene accessible for everyone.
Joan M. Medina