City will begin work to fix Hall Street handicapped parking next week

Hall Street reconstruction raised the street level in some places, making access to the drop-off area at Bibby Orthodontics difficult.

Hall Street reconstruction resulted in a raising of the street level in some places

Yesterday the Star ran a story about issues created for Kootenay Co-op Radio and neighbouring building owner Ross Lake by the blocking of the alley that runs west from Hall street. Bibby Orthodontics, just a few doors up the street, faces related issues caused by the changed level of the street.

Dr. Kathryn Bibby says she has lost her handicapped parking because the level of the street has been raised in front of a parking area outside her office. In a recent letter to the editor of the Star, she wrote in part:

“Due to the unplanned changes in the elevation of Hall St. in front of my office, my disabled clients have been unable to access orthodontic services since mid-July. The city seems to feel that this is acceptable, and that remediation of these concerns can wait until next year. The city has partially completed work and then abandoned it.

“There is no other way for clients with mobility issues to access my office,” her letter adds. “My patients must be seen every two months to progress their treatment and prevent negative consequences, but the city is denying this. Delivery access is also blocked which is impacting my staff and my business.”

City manager Kevin Cormack told the Star that one of the goals of the reconstruction of that block was to cut some of the top off the crest of the hill and raise the level of the lower part of the hill, making the street less steep and improving visibility from Vernon Street. He said that goal, combined with making the street level fit with the parking lot in front of Bibby Orthodontics, the driveway into Finley’s, the alley beside Co-op Radio, the pedestrian bulb-outs on Vernon, and the stores at Hall and Vernon, has been quite a challenge.

Cormack said the reality on the ground was different from what was planned, and “they had to figure all these things out in the field.” He said another factor was that the street was narrowed in order to create more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks.

Cormack said the city has a new plan that requires that the concrete pad in front of Bibby Orthodontics be shifted further north, but that an underground Shaw Cable access box has to be moved to make that work.

The city’s Colin McClure told the Star that Shaw has agreed to move the box next week and that the city will then begin concrete forming work so the drop-off spot can be completed.