Her illness put her in a wheelchair: manuela ehrhardt was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 34 years ago, and has been unable to walk since 2008. Nevertheless, she tries to live as independently as possible. The 60-year-old lives in a nursing home in the mainpark and is mobile thanks to her electric wheelchair.
The way from the mainpark to the city center is short – but it's not easy for the wheelchair user: "there are obstacles everywhere that most people don't even think about. But for me, sometimes just one centimeter at a curb decides whether I can continue on my way or have to wait for help from someone else, says ehrhardt.
Reason enough for the 60-year-old, who is also involved as chairwoman of the residents' association of the mainpark, to take care of improvements herself. She took pictures of the problem areas and sent them to the city of kulmbach with a letter to the mayor. She has also contacted the spokeswoman of the grunen district board, dagmar keis-lechner. The mother of a severely disabled daughter in a wheelchair has a lot of experience with the difficulties of everyday wheelchair life.
To see where help could be given in individual cases, michael barnickel, head of the city's building yard, met with manuela ehrhardt, accompanied by keis-lechner, but also by sven werner, who has to cope with even more problems in everyday life with his wheelchair without electric drive, especially when he has no one with him to push his scooter.
A tour of the grunzug
For the residents of the mainpark, the park is a walking path and a direct link to the city hall and the city center. The stone of the anstob in the literal sense here is the paving of the paths. "You really get scuffed up. That is very unpleasant", laments manuela ehrhardt. Michael barnickel gets to try it out for himself and is pushed over the bumpy slope in a wheelchair."Couldn't you grout the pavement here to get a more even surface??" Asks the 60-year-old. That does not solve the problem, says the head of the building yard. The granite paving, laid on chippings, has very uneven, uneven textures. "Grouting does not help either." Even rolling was only found to work on a pavement with a flat surface. Replacing the entire pavement in one go is unrealistic for the time being: "that would be a major investment."
With less effort, however, other problems can be solved. Example of a central parking lot: on the fubgangeruberweg near the "fire station a piece of the curb was slightly raised. Minimal intervention – great effect, praises manuela ehrhardt and wishes for more of these "tar sausages for softer crossings, for example at the pedestrian walkway at the schwedensteg in the direction of the train station.
And then there are still some sidewalk potholes around the mainpark. To repair this damage and also the one or other "tar sausage"-michael barnickel believes that it is possible to fulfill this wish without rough terrain, and he promised to take care of the problem.
What is dangerous, what is feasible?
Not everywhere in the city where there are problems for wheelchair users, the building yard is responsible. The campaigners for a handicapped-accessible city center know this, too. "It is important to us that wherever new plans or improvements are made, the needs of people with walking disabilities are taken into account", says dagmar keis-lechner. "It is already clear that you can not do everything at once. It also has to be financed." But it is necessary to check where there are dangerous places and what is desirable so that wheelchair users can participate in life. "And then you just have to see what is feasible and whether we can afford it now or have to save for another two years."
The fact is that more and more people will be dependent on accessibility, according to the grunen spokeswoman, who is also supported in her actions by jurgen tesarczyk of the general german bicycle club. The needs of cyclists and people with walking disabilities are different "but that's why it's important to think together about how to solve problems and meet everyone's needs", says tesarczyk. Replacing pavement is expensive, but choosing a flat surface for new construction projects is usually not a problem. "In bayreuth and many other cities, this is also possible."
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