Scooter tour highlights sidewalk problems
by Glenn Moore
May 23, 2014 | 5935 views | 0 0 comments | 83 83 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sidewalk safety project
Dan Schack jots notes about sidewalk conditions on 11th Street as he rides a scooter along with Liz Jackson during a project by the Tracy Senior Advocacy Association to identify problem areas in town Tuesday.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Dan Schack guided a motorized scooter down the sidewalk as he followed Liz Jackson’s route along 11th Street late Tuesday afternoon.

He stopped near a crosswalk at Tracy Boulevard to check his notes as he joined a senior advocacy group looking for trouble spots on Tracy streets for people who travel on four wheels instead of two feet.

“It’s given me an opportunity to see things from a different perspective,” Schack said.

“We can’t visualize it until we are sitting in their seat. The general public doesn’t have any idea of what they face without being in their shoes.”

Schack, the president of the Tracy Friends for Parks, Recreation and Community Services Foundation, joined members of the Tracy Senior Advocacy that took part in the sidewalk check to find hazards for people who use scooters and other mobility devices.

Jackson, who has used a scooter to travel around Tracy since 2001, said that uneven pavement edges at the ramp at the southwest corner of Ninth and B streets near the Tracy post office, and similar problems elsewhere, created concerns for her and other scooter users.

“I was afraid I would fall over backwards,” Jackson said. “They make me go into the street, and I know they don’t want us to go into the street.”

The Tracy Senior Advocacy Association, formed in January 2013, promotes safety and health for older adults, provides resources and advocates issues important to them.

The president of the association, Brent Riddle, who works at Reich’s Medical Supply, said the topic of unsafe streets and sidewalks had been mentioned several times, including by customers who rented scooters at the store.

Cracked sidewalks and unusable ramps, among other problems, were brought to the association’s attention.

To test the streets and sidewalks firsthand, Riddle gathered several association members downtown with scooters on Tuesday. Riddle also planned to let members of the association check out scooters for a week at a time to check their neighborhoods.

“We want to identify and prioritize the problem areas, like the post office,” Riddle said. “We realize the city can’t fix them all, but we need to work on corners that are used the most.”

Six people fanned out from Ninth and B streets, taking different paths that might be frequented by seniors on scooters. The riders traveled routes about one to two miles from downtown.

Destinations included Lolly Hansen Senior Center, doctors’ offices, shopping centers and Sutter Tracy Community Hospital.

Riddle rode a scooter from downtown to the hospital and said he gained a view of what people who use scooters regularly have to deal with.

“It was a good start. Everyone found one or two trouble spots,” Riddle said. “It was good to see things they come across from their perspective.”

Each person with a scooter checked the sidewalk corridor — the part of the walkway from the edge of the road to the property line along side streets between street corners.

They were looking for narrow pathways, obstacles in the sidewalk, severe grades and slopes, uneven surfaces and protruding edges of ramps and roadways near crosswalks.

With a few blocks behind him, Schack said he had already found a misaligned crosswalk at 11th and B streets, cracked utility covers that caught at his scooter’s wheels and a driveway obscured by bushes — a potential safety hazard.

“One of the purposes of this exercise is to identify existing obstacles residents face,” Schack said. “Unless they are pointed out as an obstacle or problem, we don’t know about it.”

For information about the Tracy Senior Advocacy Association or the sidewalk safety program, call 200-8722 or go online to

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252or

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