These Burnaby sidewalks on Rumble are all jumbled up

Burnaby man concerned the uneven surface is unusable for people with mobility or visual impairments

The sidewalks on Rumble Street have seen better days.

The street is currently under construction between McKay Avenue and Royal Oak Avenue for street beautification, upgrades to lanes, and to improve pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, according to the City of Burnaby’s website. Water mains, and storm sewers are also being upgraded. 

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But in process of construction, sidewalks on both sides of the road have been removed and replaced with loose gravel. In some areas, pedestrians have to venture onto the busy road to get around parked vehicles. The walkway is uneven, littered with holes, large rocks, exposed manholes and construction waste.

Doug Brown lives in the neighbourhood and walks down the road nearly every day. He said he's sent a Tweet to the city of Burnaby to complain about the issue. The city responded on Twitter on Aug. 9 saying that the engineering road crews would take a look.

“They've just recently ripped up the sidewalks and left just dirt, gravel and crap all over the place," he told the NOW. “You can't use the sidewalk, there's nowhere to walk … I've walked on mountain paths that are (smoother) than this.”

He says he’s concerned for people with visual impairments or physical disabilities who will find the area difficult to navigate. A family friend with poor vision has been unable to use the walking path without assistance, he says. People who use wheelchairs or walkers would also have difficulty travelling down the road.

"I even have trouble sometimes. You can trip pretty easily,” he said. “You have to constantly be looking down (or) you will step in a hole or over a rock.”

Doug Brown rumble sidewalks
Even when he's not wearing sandals, Doug Brown says the uneven surface on Rumble Street makes it tricky to get around. - Lauren Boothby

Brown said he would like to see the city make a smoother, dedicated trail on one side of the street until the sidewalk is complete.

"We don't need a real sidewalk yet until it's finished, but to smooth it out and keep it like a sidewalk," he said. “I don't like seeing people get hurt, and I don't like seeing people who can't go do their regular shopping ... because they fear walking up and down the street.”

Polly Tsao lives in the neighbourhood and was walking down the street Saturday afternoon. She says the surface is easy for he to use, but she could see that it may be an issue for others.

“For me, myself, I’m okay. But maybe for the elderly people, it might be a difficult challenge for them,” she said. “I think it's all worth it in the end, but maybe they should consider, for the time being, have something more smooth for the elderly to walk on.”

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