One of the highlights of Jane Whitson’s day is going across the street with her friends from Diversified Services to the gas station to get coffee and snacks.
However, because she was in a wheelchair and with others at Diversified Services having disabilities as well, she grew concerned about the safety of crossing the street.
Jason Gillard, a supervisor at Diversified Services, said Diversified Services had met with the city a few times in the past about installing a crosswalk on Wood Lily Drive. However, nothing has really come of those talks.
“It wasn’t really safe for not only Jane but for a lot of the individuals that come to Diversified to be trying to cross the street independently. And it was a goal of Jane’s, that was something she wanted to do and that was something she wanted for any of the individuals here that want to have some independence,” he said.
With help from her group home, she began lobbying the city for an enhanced crosswalk.
“Christian Horizons, they helped Jane out with this. They went to some city council meetings and eventually, the city agreed to put a crosswalk in so that everybody could basically safely access the street,” Gillard said.
In September, the city announced that an enhanced crosswalk was installed in front of Diversified Services on Wood Lily Drive. When asked about her goal coming to fruition, Whitson said “I was happy.”
The enhanced crosswalk includes new pedestrian ramps, concrete sidewalks, new traffic signs, and new Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (FRRBs) at the crossing.
“Someone else had mentioned that they’ve noticed in the evenings as well, that a lot of people that live in the apartments that don’t have vehicles are also using the crosswalk a lot at night. It’s just safe for everyone. So, thank you, Jane, for being a part of that and making that happen because it really was you that made that happen,” Gillard said.
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