Talk about improving your grades!
The city removed a curb and built a makeshift ramp near the Washington Park and DeKalb Avenue entrance to Fort Greene Park last week after locals demanded the Department of Transportation give folks who with difficulty getting around easy access to the greenspace, and it is already a big improvement over the previous situation, said one locals who have been pushing for a solution for years.
“It’s better than nothing,” said Fort Greene resident Anne-Elizabeth Straub, who uses a wheelchair and has been submitting requests for the city to carve out a curb for six years. “It ain’t pretty but it gets the job done, I hope it lasts a long time.”
The asphalt ramp from the street to the sidewalk will do the job while the city comes up with a plan to install a permanent solution in the historic district, according to a Department of Transportation spokeswoman.
Straub browses the farmer’s market every week, and had to either make the trek to a different corner with a curb cut or risk banging up her wheelchair by going over the sidewalk, she said.
But she tried out the new curb several times on Saturday and reported that she was able to roll up and down without breaking a sweat or her wheels and will now be frequenting it when she can.
“You get into patterns sometimes of not doing things because I have an errand that will take me in that direction,” she said. “Now I have a new rerouting and it’s not negative, so I’m pleased.”
Fellow Fort Greene resident Ed Goldman — who watches people struggle at the entrance from his stall at the park’s popular green market — submitted a request to the city to create the ramp in July.
At the time, the agency told Community Board 2 district manager Rob Perris the it had put down the location on a list for “possible inclusion” in a new ramp contract.
It has now been added to a future contract for carving out new ramps that will need approval from the Landmarks and Preservation Commission.
The department did not need to get an okay from the commission for its temporary fix because the streets in the district don’t have to adhere to landmark guidelines, according to Perris.
People with strollers, bicycles, carts, and wheelchairs have already been taking advantage of the new easy-access curb, according to Goldman, who said he’s satisfied his hard work has actually paid off.
“It’s nice to know that if you persist at something there are possibilities you can wine one,” he said.