Sidewalks and awareness requested to aid disabled

Audrey Alfieri says she's worked with city leaders for 18 years trying to better accommodate those who are disabled.
/ Jessica Fairley

Albany commissioners plan to collaborate with disabled residents to address sidewalk upgrades. In Tuesday' Albany Board of Commission meeting, Audrey Alfieri, alerted commissioners of the needed upgrades on sidewalks, street signs and parking for disabled residents.

Audrey Alfieri says of her main concerns is drivers who keep going at crosswalks.

"Our life is in jeopardy when they cross the crosswalks and we need people to realize, the crosswalks are there for a reason," said Audrey Alfieri.

Alfieri says she spent 18 years working to secure sidewalks and roads for not only the disabled but all residents. In that time, she says there have only been two signs placed downtown to alert drivers of pedestrians.

She says in addition to more street signs, downtown Albany has several sidewalks in need of immediate attention.

"When we go to Burger King or if we go to Kentucky Fried Chicken, when we come back it bounces our chair up and with bouncing our chair up like that you can end up getting hurt bad because it can knock you into the street," said Alfieri.

This is not only her fear but the same for many who live in the downtown area and central Albany isn't the only section of town with sidewalk problems. Several roads have sidewalks that lead to nowhere and others don't have sidewalks at all.

"Some of these routes are Georgia Department of Transportation routes and we have to coordinate with DOT in order to do anything," said Dorothy Hubbard, Mayor of Albany.

Mayor Hubbard says city officials have completed many upgrades over the years and the will continue to do so, however a safer Albany won't happen overnight.

As commissioner review the concerns of residents, they're considering their budget to bring forth a change.

"What we need to do is make an assessment of the most critical ones and then line them up to be repaired," said Ivy Hines, Albany Commissioner.

City Manager James Taylor says many of the problem spots along major roads in Albany will be fixed within a year. Officials also plan to bring more awareness to street safety in the downtown area.

Also in Tuesday city commission meeting, commissioners set a public hearing date for business owners to voice their opinions about a new proposed event center ordinance.

Under aged drinking, noise, and rowdy activities were a few of the reasons commissioners placed the temporary delay on event centers.

Now that the moratorium has lifted officials want to set clear rules before any other facilities of this type are allowed in the city.

"What we've heard so far is that many event centers are welcoming this crackdown or tightening up of the rules because it's the ones that are badly operating that are giving every event center a bad name," said Roger Marietta, Albany city commissioner.

The public hearing will be held during the last meeting of the month on July 23rd.