Local woman advocates for safer sidewalk in East Central

Local woman advocates for safer sidewalk in East Central
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Jude Cormier’s trip to volunteer at a Spokane elementary school is a dangerous one.

Cormier lives a few blocks south of Sheridan Elementary School, where she volunteers with a kindergarten classroom. Medical issues forced her into a motorized scooter more than a decade ago. That’s what she takes to get to the school. But her normal path is missing something she needs to stay safe.

“On my route to the school, I have to drive my scooter on Freya because there is no curb cut at 6th and Freya,” Cormier said.

Jude Cormier drives her scooter along Freya most days to get to Sheridan Elementary where she volunteers. But, not every part of her route is as safe as this crosswalk. #KXLY pic.twitter.com/kMMKjPpb3s

— Ariana Lake (@arianaKXLY) June 10, 2019

A curb cut is a small ramp built into the sidewalk’s curb. It makes it safe and easy for people with strollers or people in wheelchairs and scooters to pass from the sidewalk to the road. That dip in the sidewalk is missing at the intersection of S. Freya Street and E. 6th Avenue, in east central Spokane.

“If we get this put in, it’ll help a lot of other people. That’s my goal, make it safer for everyone,” Cormier.

So Cormier holds a bright yellow sign on her way to the school calling for people to join her quest for curb cuts. She said it also sends a message to motorists about why she’s riding in the road along the busy stretch. Cormier could take a nearby sidewalk on another street to get to school, but said ignoring the problem won’t fix it.

“People do get it, but on occasion there are a few drivers that give me a hard time, like they did today,” Cormier said. “But, that’s par for the course. I just ignore them. My goal is to get to school as quickly and safely as I can.”

Those drivers aren’t the only ones taking notice.

Spokane City Council members Breean Beggs and Kate Burke both joined Cormier on her trek to school Monday.

“It was terrifying to watch her in the street,” Burke said.

Both members of the council said this is an important project considering it’s along a busy street.

“It will take very little money to actually get it done, so we really want to prioritize where the highest traffic is to make those sidewalks the safest,” Beggs said. “This isn’t just some sleepy corner deep on the South Hill.”

Watching cars speed past Cormier was more than enough to inspire these city leaders. They promised to make the curb changes a priority. Burke commended Cormier for being so vocal about her struggles.

Her calls for help caught the attention of .@kate4spokane and .@breeanlbeggs. The two .@SpokaneCity council members watched her on that route today and say they’re going to push for this project to get moved forward quickly so Jude and others can safely get around #KXLY pic.twitter.com/YmOHXtfJjz

— Ariana Lake (@arianaKXLY) June 10, 2019

“Calling in and letting us know that these problems are coming up is really important because we need to see what our constituents are going through and I really value Jude for taking the time, for sharing what she goes through on a daily base,” Burke said.

Cormier was impressed with how city leaders responded. She’s hopeful change will come that will help her and countless others.

“I think the city council has been tremendous regarding this concern. I know that they care, and they want to help,” Cormier said.

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