Norte board member Chris Hinze was attending a human rights commission forum when he heard a woman in a wheelchair speaking out about her struggle with sidewalks in the Winter.
That woman was Jeanne Esch.
Jeanne is one of many wheelchair-bound and disabled citizens that can’t simply get through their daily routine because of snow and ice covered bridges and curb sides.
Chris heard Jeanne’s message and decided to take action with a new community driven idea.
The idea was just get people who might have a little bit of extra time to sign up, to volunteer or pledge to keep an intersection clear and hopefully keep it up all winter long,” says Hinze.
This idea is called The Great Traverse City Sidewalk Experiment.
The “experiment” asks citizens to simply adopt an intersection.
In other words, pledge to keep it snow free all winter so people like Jeanne don’t have to struggle.
“You can’t get through the intersections with the snow on them,” says Jeanne.
“The wheelchair wheels will just sink right in so basically I take to the streets because I can’t get through on the sidewalks.”
When you pledge to adopt an intersection, you are changing someone’s everyday life.
“For my everyday life having the curb cuts cleared, having the bridges cleared allow me to safely be out in the community,” says Jeanne.
“I don’t know how to tell you how much better it makes my life – it’s a relief – so safe.”
Ideally Jeanne hopes this sidewalk experiment spreads so people everywhere could get around safely.
However, like anything, it has to start somewhere.
Jeanne told us, “You have to start with your little corner of the world and try to make that better and you hope that from there it goes out.”
The Great Traverse City Sidewalk Experiment started just last week and already has 30 adopted intersections.
If you want to help people like Jeanne stay safe this winter click to sign up and adopt your own intersection.