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What seniors told us - outdoor spaces & buildings

Seniors in all communities valued outdoor green spaces such as parks, trails and golf courses. Seniors transitioning to Canada are accustomed to parks and public spaces offering activities for all ages.

“Milton is a beautiful city … I love to play golf. Milton, Oakville, Burlington are very nice. It’s the  reason for moving to Milton.” (MILTON DIVERSE)

“… Nearby parks and paths provide satisfying places to walk or bicycle.” (OAKVILLE)

“I notice now that all the streets they are planning are a lot wider. … On each side of the road  you have green space … I find it beautiful …” (OAKVILLE)

“I personally find, because I walk a lot, Burlington is absolutely wonderful … they have done the Centennial Parkway so I literally can walk around the back of the house and walk to Burloak if I want to - if I can last that far.” (BURLINGTON)

“Brookville Park has beautiful walking trails.” (HALTON HILLS)

“They are talking about changing Rotary Park into a real park. It would be a perfect place for a good park -so many seniors in that area can spend a pleasant time.” (HALTON HILLS)

“Early in the morning … music in the park. Free in China. People can go to the park and take part in activities. No one organizes. People just come … line dancing or singing or Tai chi or jog. You can go and make friends there and talk to each other ... (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

“Could they put exercise equipment in the park for seniors?” (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

“Seniors university, there are lots of activities, music. Pay a little and you can spend a lot of time … organize things especially for winter … it will have to be inside somewhere.” (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

Seniors in all communities highlighted the need for places to sit and rest outdoors, in stores, and shopping areas. Well placed benches can mean the difference between a senior being able to get out and around or not.

“I find on Brant Street and in the core area, there are more seats … they are being used, people are taking advantage of them …” (BURLINGTON)

“I have found when I walk around Bronte in particular there are enough benches.” (OAKVILLE)

“Black wrought iron benches along Main Street are nice and the right height too to get out of.
On Main Street there are a lot of benches.” (MILTON)

“Like to see benches … in the big stores.” (MILTON)

“... We can’t walk that far because I have leg problems. She’s got arthritis but we go from one
bench to another and watch things.” (OAKVILLE)

“We don’t have enough benches. Maybe from the United Church to the medical centre, I don’t think there’s any after that.”(HALTON HILLS)

“There should be more benches available to sit on along roadways. Also there should be more
seats in shopping malls and stores.” (BURLINGTON)

“They need to put some more benches at the new places which have been made.” (MILTON DIVERSE)

“… Sometimes I use up all my energy and sometimes have to sit. Between Zellers and the Superstore and Winners and Shoppers, there are no areas to sit.” (MILTON)

For safety reasons, seniors need sidewalks that are in good repair, with curb cuts, and cleared of snow and debris. Clearing snow from the end of their driveway and around their parked cars can also be a challenge.

“I understand there will be no more subdivisions built without sidewalks … that means more  people will be able to walk, more children can play safely on the sidewalks riding their little bikes … you try to walk along the edges of the roads but some of them are getting really busy and people turning sharp corners. I think having sidewalks mandatory will be great.” (HALTON HILLS)

“…where I live … there are sidewalks - both sides … so thank you and keep up the sidewalks.” (OAKVILLE)

“Some sidewalks are uneven … You can trip, you have to walk all the time looking down and watching your steps.” (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

“… some of the sidewalks … some are not very straight. In fact, I tripped last winter and went down on my knees … you need to be very careful ...” (HALTON HILLS)

“Another thing about mobility … I despise those … interlocking bricks … the angle at which the cuts are made. If you have canes, the canes can not sit on that angle.” (BURLINGTON)

“The biggest problem I found with a walker is the sidewalks are terrible. The ramps are terrible. There are ramps down but they don’t work. You got a sidewalk that’s coming down and a road down here and it’s a bump, a speed bump…” (BURLINGTON)

“… Some residents use their electric scooter on the road; sidewalk too bumpy …” (BURLINGTON)

“In the winter, it is very difficult to walk. Sometimes sidewalks not cleared. Icy.” (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

“A lot of people walk on the street because not everyone clears their sidewalks - not safe”

“I live right on Plains Road so I am really fortunate because that is cleaned.” (BURLINGTON)

“There are no sidewalks where I live. The snow plough comes around and I get that high snow … I need some help with my driveway …” (BURLINGTON)

“… they should have … someone … to clean between the areas because … it’s a difficult thing… to dig out around your car (when parked on the street)…” (OAKVILLE)

Seniors in all communities indicated crosswalks can be very dangerous. Seniors would like more crosswalks, longer time to cross wider roads,  and police enforcement of drivers not obeying traffic rules and not yielding to pedestrians.

“… when they want to cross … there is a lot of traffic so they have to wait a long time and it is
dangerous to cross … Can a pedestrian walk be installed so they don’t have to walk all the way down to the traffic lights?” (MILTON DIVERSE)

“There’s not many of them (crosswalks) for the number of people that live here.” (HALTON

“There’s the clinic on Speers Road where … with a bus stop on each side … I have seen people cross there and it is very, very dangerous to cross. I think they could do with a cross walk.” (OAKVILLE)

“I worry about the crossways in this town. Even with the time, good to have a visual. (But) 17 seconds with a walker is not long enough.” (MILTON)

“I think sometimes they are too quick (the cross walks). I have to sprint to make the light … my grandma who can’t walk as fast … I don’t want her to get hit by a car.” (MILTON

“…they could only get to the middle of the road … Didn’t know what to do, so they just stood there. The cars went around them. The road is too wide there.” (BURLINGTON DIVERSE)

“The crosswalk by Tim Hortons - sometimes you take your life in your hands because it’s amazing how many cars blow right on by.” (HALTON HILLS)

“…people will come to a stop sign and just go right through it, and as far as right hand turns … people just drive right through; therefore, endangering every pedestrian that is out there.” (OAKVILLE)

“When vehicles stop at the lights, they cross over the line into the walkway. You have to go around the bumpers of these cars …” (HALTON HILLS)

“What happened to pedestrians have the right way? The signs on Main Street say pedestrians yield to cars.” (MILTON)

“Not pedestrian friendly downtown - Seniors walk, youngsters drive” (MILTON)

“Crossing is a problem. Lack of courtesy from drivers. They will drive around you and in front of you.” (MILTON)

Seniors in most communities were concerned about bike and scooter safety, and proper use of these vehicles.

“One thing that is not clear to us - my wife is a great one to ride her bike on the sidewalk and I am not sure what the laws are down here for riding bikes on sidewalks ...” (BURLINGTON)

“… instead of the bikers using the bike path, they use the sidewalk; runners use the bike path ... the pedestrians need to be on the sidewalk, the bikes need to be in the bike path and those should be hard and fast rules …” (OAKVILLE)

“I used to ride a bicycle but the driver’s whiz around you so fast, it wasn’t safe in the end.”

“… the kids on bikes share the pathway with me and that for me is quite unnerving because … they come by and you are startled …” (BURLINGTON)

“… then I got a scooter - that’s even worse (on the sidewalk). Bump, bump, bump … if you know the back streets of Burlington, you can use the roads and nobody will bother you ...”  (BURLINGTON)

“The sidewalks are so rough … people are using the bicycle lanes on Bronte St. I know of 3 of my clients that have had severe injuries being struck by cars and scooters.” (MILTON)

“Are they (scooters) supposed to be on the sidewalk or on the road? Are they a vehicle or not …” (MILTON)

“I see most people using scooters are on the wrong side of the road. They should be facing the traffic instead of going with the traffic. They should be going close to the curb but that is not the practice.” (HALTON HILLS)

Seniors recognize the growing need for more accessibility to public places. The lack of public washrooms that are accessible and open year round are a particular concern.

“Access to restaurants is getting better.” (HALTON HILLS)

“They installed a push button at the bank and even the dentist at Bronte Village … You just press and the door opens…” (OAKVILLE)

“… The ramp and elevator in the building are very helpful ...” (OAKVILLE)

“I am glad to see we are finally getting a new library … the new one will be wheelchair accessible which will be great.” (HALTON HILLS)

“I think the mall is very well equipped for seniors … the stairways, they have ramps. Very accessible from the driveways.” (HALTON HILLS)

“If it’s flat (the floor) a lot of people can do their walking in the mall in the winter.” (HALTON HILLS)

“… I noticed even up at the shopping malls, people are using more canes. People are using more walkers. They are being wheel chaired around. It is very evident now that the population is aging and there are so many of us.” (BURLINGTON)

“If you cannot walk very far, then you are on another level in this society. We try to make it as normal as we can but the time and concept and energy is a real consideration ...” (BURLINGTON)

“I guess it is the unknown when you go out … I start thinking where, how far does he have to walk after he gets out of the car, what are the steps like? All these things have to be taken into consideration, the timing because if you spend too much time having to just get to the place the tendency to say is I don’t want to go.” (BURLINGTON)

“There are still places in town that don’t have the ramps. I have a friend in a chair and it’s quite a challenge to take her for a walk. There are uneven sidewalks. You need to take a run at the curbs to get her up. It is better but still has a way to go” (MILTON)

“... drugstores not wheelchair friendly due to displays in aisles. Local strip mall not very accessible – curbs present barriers and sidewalks very narrow.” (BURLINGTON)

“Ramps should be marked with paint. If you are using a walker, all of a sudden the slope is there. It should be identified.” (MILTON)

“The number of doors that have the wheelchair sign and nobody has bothered to switch them on - that happens too. It is dangerous for many people including people in motorized chairs because it is hard for them to reach. I use my cane to touch the button.” (BURLINGTON)

“There are a lot of places that are not scooter accessible. Push buttons are not always in an
accessible place. I need to use a cane to open.” (MILTON)

“There is a strip mall and the back entrance to the strip mall is inaccessible to people that have mobility issues … if you want to go to that mall, you have to walk all the way around to the front of it to get into it.” (OAKVILLE)

“There are public washrooms down in Bronte down at the lake … They are not always open.  They are seasonal. In Bronte Mall there is an open washroom all the time.” (OAKVILLE)

“Some washrooms in the park are closed on Saturday and Sunday. In winter time the washrooms are closed.” (BURLINGTON DIVERSE)

“Could go into the town hall to use the washroom - perhaps this needs to be better signed.” (MILTON)

“Public washrooms are pretty bad in Milton. You have to go to the mall to find one.” (MILTON)

“… I was on crutches and I found accessibility to the washrooms difficult … a lot of the  handicapped stalls are behind the doors with the closers on so I used to have to brace myself, push the door open, stick my crutch in it so the door wouldn’t come back on me and sort of wiggle my way around … How do I get the door closed so that I can lock it because it would open out? I only have two hands and I have two crutches … I would hate to be somebody in a wheelchair or somebody with a walker because those doors are heavy … and there is nothing to
hang onto to close them.” (HALTON HILLS)

“This place (Hall) still doesn’t have an automatic door opener and no accessible bathroom.” (MILTON)

“Any newer public washrooms are putting in raised toilets and a grab bar.” (MILTON)

Some businesses can be more welcoming by considering the needs of their elder patrons.

“In my country (Jamaica) you have to provide a special window marked for seniors ... about 10 years ago the seniors asked for it. They followed the concept inside as with wheelchairs.” (OAKVILLE DIVERSITY)

“Wendy’s donates their space.” (BURLINGTON)

“(Local grocery chain) would probably be the perfect store because they are very accommodating ... I buy a piece of Monterey Jack and I have them cut it into smaller pieces and vacuum seal it. They do that for free.” (BURLINGTON)

“… Many of us seniors were very thankful that the town put in steps at the pool and made chairs available … the staff at (my bank) in Bronte are the very best in customer service and go that extra mile.” (OAKVILLE)

“The huge grocery stores I don’t shop in, they are just too big. I think you tend to shop in the store where you know where everything is so you can go and get it” (BURLINGTON)

“ … I find it is hard for me to shop because I can’t walk very long and I can’t stand very long. If they had a chair, I could just sit down for a few minutes. Then I could do more shopping.” (HALTON HILLS)

“What if they are in a wheelchair and can’t get out to pump (gas) … or go in to ask for help?” (BURLINGTON)

“A lot of the grocery stores are geared to families and you go in there and they have great big packages of stewing beef but a lot of seniors don’t want that. They want smaller portions so that they will use it up.” (BURLINGTON)

“Even the banks have made it more difficult. There was a drive-in teller - that is gone … Where are the tellers? The very furthest point like… the pharmacy is always at the back of the drugstore ...” (BURLINGTON)

“… every day there is something that limits the communication of people over a certain age or anybody. Just try to get through to the Bell operator dialing “0” which gave us a human being - it doesn’t anymore.” (BURLINGTON)

Rapid development and growth in Milton is causing concern for some seniors.

“They are building new tennis courts and a community centre at corner of 401 and Guelph Line. …. Changes are occurring quickly in the rural area. There is the opportunity to bring some seniors programs there.” (MILTON)

“… where most the seniors in town live, there is no grocery store. The library is moving away.” (MILTON)

“When (grocery store) left the mall, it left it very difficult for a lot of people - too far to walk. Would it be worth speaking to them to see if they had a shuttle service, a car or delivery service?” (MILTON)

“… Removal of a crosswalk in the area has made it more difficult for seniors to cross the street.” (MILTON)

“… Road is getting wider. You barely cross half the street and it’s red already.” (MILTON DIVERSE)

“… I worry about the amount of growth and the quickness ... I worry for the seniors who are living in the new part of town. For us, we can walk to so many things or get the bus. There are a lot of elderly grandparents living in extended families in the new part of town. Are they aware of the services for them? Are we building stuff in for them in the new part of town so they can feel a part of the community … Do we know where the elderly are in town and are we meeting their needs?” (MILTON)