A few weeks ago Sue and Reinhard, long time residents of Center City Philadelphia, were kind enough to take me on a walk around their neighborhood with them. This walk they took me on mirrored many of the walks they do weekly. Sue is in a wheelchair, while Reinhard pushes her, which made the walk very interesting.
The walk went like this:
We walked the block around the Academy House, which is where their condo is located, towards the Kimmel Center because they go there multiple times a week for concerts. We crossed various intersections where it was difficult for Reinhard to push Sue in her wheelchair into the street to cross the road. One of the intersections pointed out has a pole blocking the curb cut, which meant that we had to navigate the wheelchair over the curb. We had to pause every few seconds to maneuver around uneven sidewalk and areas where there are gaps or holes in the sidewalk.
Despite the difficulties of getting around with the wheelchair, Sue and Reinhard enjoy many aspects of walking around Philadelphia. They love that there is so much available in Center City that you can get to. They enjoy the library, museums and parks within walking distance. Reading Terminal Market is also a frequent destination. Sue and Reinhard are very social and attend a variety of FitC meetings and events. These activities are all things that they choose to walk to.
While they rely on walking as a way to get around, Sue and Reinhard recognize various issues that make their trips more difficult for them. Actually being able to get around is made difficult by obstacles such as poles, degrading curb cuts, bicycle riders on the sidewalk and more, which was made clear through the one walk we took.