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Gridley Herald - Gridley, CA
  • Resident disputes claim Senior Center bus stop has been made more accessible

  • A week after an solution was worked out over perceived problems regarding senior citizens' accessibility to the Ridgerunner system, one Ridgecrest resident still believes there is a problem.“There have been no resolutions to the problem,” Thomas McClellan said over the phone Thursday.McClennan said it was ...
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  • Seniors brought 15 complaints regarding access to the senior center, including the distance of the original bus stop from the senior center.
    At the meeting, Acton said she and Interim City Manager Dennis Speer had worked out an agreement to roll out and start up a bus jointly owned by the Happy Times Senior Citizens and the city. In addition, a makeshift bus stop has been set up directly in front of the walkway to the senior center.
    "I want to make sure they're trying to get seniors included in the process,"  McClellan said.
    McClellan  said that while Acton had brought the issue to the city council's attention, it didn't go far enough.
    "Since she's been elected to the city council, she can't rock the boat too much,"  McClellan said.
    McClellan  said he had filed 15 more complaints with the city and called State Senator Jean Fuller's office concerning the matter.
    "I know one lady that is paying $11 in cab fare to get to the senior center for a $2 meal,"  McClellan said.
    McClellan  said that putting the bus stop on the sidewalk outside of the senior center's parking lot did not solve matters, given seniors had to cross the parking lot and other obstacles.
    "There are all types of things that they're (the city) not thinking about," he said.
    Sen. Fuller's district office confirmed that McClellan had called with concerns, but could not comment given the recent timing of the call.
    Acton said in an interview that she had spoken with Speer and Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ponek Thursday on the initial matter.
    "The city wants to turn the senior bus over to the seniors," Acton said. "The Happy Time Seniors are going to look at finding some grant funding for licenses and insurance fees."
    Acton said that a volunteer driver with a Class B driver's license had been secured to drive the seniors bus.
    "In the beginning we'll have him run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to pick up seniors door-to-door and drop off them and take them back," Acton said.
    Acton said the city would try to do initial maintenance overhaul in the next few weeks to ensure everything was in working order.
    "It's great and I'm glad the city is stepping up for that," Acton said.
    Acton said it had been  McClellan who initially brought the matter to her attention.
    "When this first started, he is the person who came to me along with a group of seniors who said they were upset, frustrated and asked 'why won't they drop us at the door,'" she said.
    Acton said the problems the city transit system apparently faced included its buses' inability to enter the parking lot.
    Page 2 of 2 - However, Acton expressed concern that McClellan 's continued insistence for solutions could possibly hinder process.
    City staff could not be reached for comment regarding McClellan 's concerns as of press time.
    "Mr.  McClellan seems to think that the city is discriminating against people with handicaps and that they're not ADA compliant," Acton said.
    Acton said that was not the case, and that she had gone to the city with seniors' concerns and then relayed results back to that group.
    "He was supposed to be done stirring stuff up," Acton said.
    She said someone will talk with  McClellan on the issue.
    "I can't help the seniors if he keeps undermining everything I'm doing," Acton said.

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