Woman calls snow clearing at bus stops a ‘disgrace’ after wheelchair gets stuck in snow

A Winnipeg woman is calling on the city to do a better job of clearing snow from bus stops after her wheelchair got stuck for 10 minutes.

Kate Grisim said it happened as she was leaving Grant Park Mall Wednesday evening.

“I tried to get up the one at Grand and Wilton, but I got stuck, kind of, going up onto the boulevard, and then I got stuck actually on one of the ruts in the road,” she said.

Grisim said while she was stuck, she took photos she later tweeted to help get the word out, hoping someone might soon walk by who could assist her. But that didn’t happen for around 10 minutes, and even after she was free to move, she encountered more barriers to getting on the bus. 

Grisim said the next couple bus stops she tried were also inaccessible.

“So I went all the way to Stafford to catch the bus,” she said.

“It is very frustrating for sure. I just went out wanting to be social, and this happened,” she said. 

Grisim said she’s experienced the issue before in winter, but she hopes speaking out can change things.

“By bringing awareness to this issue, early enough in the winter, I hope it will help get that discussion going. Because really, I just want to have the right to access public space like everybody else,” Grisim said. 

Grisim said the issue is with how things are being plowed, and she’d like those doing the work to approach it with equal access in mind.

“The bus stop at Grant and Wilton was technically plowed, but my access point to get onto the boulevard to get to the bus stop wasn’t. So it’s really just thinking things through,” she said.

“People just don’t realize that, hey, if the plow goes by and it leaves a bit of a snowbank, not everyone can walk over that snowbank.” 

In an email to CTV News, a spokesperson for the city said clearing sidewalks and bus stops is a priority, and a council-approved policy is followed for all snow clearing activities.

It also said a front-end loader was dispatched to the bus stop platform on Grant Avenue and Wilton Street Thursday and encouraged anyone who spots a sidewalk area or bus stop that needs clearing to contact 311.

The city also said that “snow clearing is an ongoing process, so since the last plow, some additional snow had accumulated, and now with milder temperatures the snow on sidewalks has softened and we are addressing trouble spots, asking sidewalk users to use caution at this time, and to report locations that need clearing to 311.”