Man using wheelchair hopes for better accessibility in Northampton streets

Hampshire County

Craig Browning has lived in Northampton for a decade and rides a powered wheelchair.

He said some businesses and homeowners are better than others when it comes to being accessible for everyone.

“One house on this street, over two-thirds of the sidewalk, is taken up by their hedges, and nobody seems to want to do anything,” Browning explained to 22News.

The Mayor’s Office said the DPW issues orders for people to trim their overgrown hedges and will trim them themselves if the homeowners fail to comply.  

The city said MassDOT maintains some of the properties Browning’s concerned about. Browning complains a newer stretch of sidewalk on King Street is not wheelchair accessible.

“You have to do over 80 feet going against traffic before you can get to a driveway to get up back on to the new sidewalk,” said Browning. “I mean we’re talking about a sidewalk that is less than three years old, but they didn’t extend it all the way down to the corner.”

Browning said he’s been scratched by overgrown branches, tipped out of his chair, and broken wheels. He said a few changes would make all the difference to someone with limited mobility.

“It takes away some of the anxiety we go through in getting around,” Browning told 22News.

The Mayor’s Office told 22News they’re gathering information so they can address Browning’s complaints.

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