For people with disabilities, and hard-to-access buildings are only part of the problem

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GREENFIELD — As he regularly watches cars whizzing by along Ind. 9 on the north side of Greenfield, Bob Burrows says motorists stop at the red light at McClarnon Drive only if the mood hits them right.

While everybody else risks a ticket for running a red light, Burrows says he’s risking his life when he crosses the busy state highway in his motorized wheelchair.

Burrows has multiple sclerosis. The disease has also affected his vision, so the former cop doesn’t drive. At least twice a week, Burrows, 62, scoots across State Street to run errands only to be met with blaring horns and profane gestures from impatient drivers.

“I’ve heard a lot of horns; I’ve heard a lot of people yelling at me as I go by,” said Burrows. “(One) lady … tried to see just how close she could get to me, and then she honked her horn all the way by.”

From problems in parking lots to inaccessible buildings, Burrows and other local residents with disabilities say the community needs more patience and understanding for those who struggle getting around.

County and city officials are updating plans to renovate public buildings and sidewalks to meet requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. As local residents with mobility and vision problems appreciate efforts to plan ahead, they also hope the general public shows more common courtesy, especially during the busy holiday season when patience and parking spots are difficult to come by.

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