Disabled Phoenix Man Wants Sidewalks Along Bethany Home Road Fixed Now, Not in 2015

beth home fire hydrant.JPG
Image: Google Street View
The fire hydrant seen here blocking the curb ramp along Bethany Home Road at 3rd Avenue was relocated after Thomas Vickery complained. The scooter-driving disabled man wants the city to address the sidewalk's other problems.

Thomas Vickery lit a fire under the butts of city officials earlier this year, shaming them into finally moving a fire hydrant that blocked a curb ramp on a sidewalk.

Now he wants the city of Phoenix to move up its schedule to do more improvements along Bethany Home Road that will make it easier for people who, like him, can't walk.

Vickery, a Chicago transplant who has cerebral palsy, takes a scooter nearly everywhere he goes. And he's not one to sit at home every day -- he often rides the scooter from his home near Central and Maryland to Christown Spectrum Mall at 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road. His "preferred route" is to go up Central to Bethany Home, then take a straight shot to the mall. There are obstacles for his scooter no matter which way he goes, but he's been particularly annoyed with the condition of the sidewalks along Bethany Home.

As the above screen shot from Google Street View shows, a fire hydrant used to sit squarely in the middle of a curb ramp at 3rd Avenue and Bethany Home. The city knew since 2008 that the location of the hydrant was out of compliance with the American Disabilities Act, says an April article in the Arizona Republic, but did nothing to fix it until after Vickery complained.

beth home sidewalk probs.JPG
Image: Google Street View
The sidewalk along Bethany Home west of Central Avenue has several obstacles, including slopes and the occasional water utility box.

The hydrant was relocated, but the city told Vickery the other sidewalk improvements -- just some of a long list of intended projects -- likely wouldn't happen until at least 2015.

Vickery says the sidewalks slope so badly toward the street in some places, he's worried his scooter will topple over. Another Street View screen shot we've included here shows one of two concrete water utility boxes that partially block the sidewalk, making it tough for people in wheelchairs and scooters.

"All the issues combined make Bethany Home not an easy road to travel down," he says.

The city could afford to fix all of its ADA non-compliant sidewalk areas, Vickery argues, and doing so "would make the world a better place."

He vows to keep up the pressure on city officials until they do more.

That's how he rolls.


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I usually hate it when people say, "If you don't like it here, go back to XXX..." but it really applies in this situation. Phoenix sidewalks are better than any other city in the country. If you've done any walking in New York, Chicago, or Boston, one notices that all of those pre-WWII streets have sidwalks that are narrow, cracked, no curb cuts, etc. If you go to Tucson, they don't even have sidewalks on most of the major streets. I've never been in a wheelchair but I've navigated several cities with a baby stroller, and Phoenix is the best.


They could probably fix all the sidewalks tomorrow but I don't think the taxpayers would like the price tag very much!


Your photo of the water box kind of misses that fact that the sidewalk goes around it. Unless he has a jet powered scooter he just needs to slow down a bit.


I call B.S. on you Bill.  Tucson is a much friendler city for alternate transportation and that includes wheelchairs.  There aren't sidewalks in newer areas but they aren't part of the city, that's county.   The uncharitableness of people here in this city is appaling.  you included


You ever been in a wheelchair or had to use a walker to get around?  Try it for a day on sidewalks in almost any of the valley's cities and you will really alter your view.  The space between the waterbox and the split-rail fence is pretty damn narrow.

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