by Kathy Lyons

(Editor's Note: Kathy Lyons is a member of the Environmental Access Committee.)

A couple of years ago I wrote a letter to my branch bank concerning unsafe access to the new location. The bank responded affirmatively, and rectified the dangerous situation.

April 8, 2008

Attn: Manager
Some Bank
9999 Other Avenue
Buffalo, NY 142__

Dear Ms. Manager:

I opened my first account with your bank at the downtown branch while working at the nearby federal building on Huron Street. After retiring I carried out most transactions at the branch near my home. I could walk there from home with no difficulty.

On October 12, 2007 the branch closed, and reopened across the street. That branch is located on an island in the middle of a parking lot. There is no direct access to the bank from the main sidewalk. One must walk in the parking lot in order to get to the bank.

I am visually impaired, and use a guide dog to travel. I give the dog commands, and he carries them out to get to the desired destination. When the branch was on the east side of the street I walked north to the side street. I crossed that street, turned right, walked past the driveway leading to the parking lot, then turned left and walked to the door of the bank. Now I have to cross the driveway for the drive-through teller as well as the parking lot to get to the bank. I do not feel safe when I am walking in places meant for vehicular traffic.

In an effort to mitigate this dangerous situation I would like to request that there be a sidewalk from the main sidewalk to the driveway for the drive-through teller. I would also request that a crosswalk be placed on the driveway and on the parking lot indicating the path which leads directly to the bank. These additions would greatly increase the safety factor when walking to the bank. They would in no way impede drivers.

I would gladly meet with you to discuss my request.

I thank you in advance for considering my request, and I look forward to hearing from you regarding this crucial issue.

Kathleen M. Lyons

I wanted readers to know about this letter in the event anyone else was faced with a similar circumstance.

Another phenomenon I've discovered is stores and/or restaurants with a parking lot in front, and no dedicated pedestrian sidewalk. I recently asked a manager to forward to the corporate division my request for such a sidewalk. I will report on the progress of this request in a future issue of the Forum.

We do not need to accept dangerous situations. We can make requests for improvements. It helps us all.

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