Downtown Youngstown roadwork forces those in wheelchairs to improvise

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The roadwork in downtown Youngstown is a big inconvenience, bringing less parking, more traffic, and longer routes. There are only two weeks left, though, and one group is eagerly waiting for the project’s completion.

This is the second week of the project, which has closed the main road through downtown. Central Square is closed for repaving and Market Street, Wick Avenue, W. Federal Street, and Federal Plaza East are also affected.

Forest Davis said he’s finding it tough to get around in his wheelchair.

“I leave early for any of my appointments.”

Davis has to spin his wheelchair around and go backward over some of the bumps. It’s taking more time and he has to be careful with the route he chooses.

“When you gotta go one way and you don’t have a ramp or you have a big dip inside of the curb, it’s hard,” Davis said.

The concrete has been poured for new wheelchair ramps downtown at each intersection. When the roads are repaved next week, it should make the ride a lot smoother. Those in wheelchairs will be able to go across the street and smoothly back up to the sidewalk.

“Hopefully they’ll get them evened out enough that it will be just a ride across,” Cindy Anderson said.

Davis can’t wait for the improvement.

“It will be twice as good because you don’t have a 2-inch lip between the cement and the wheelchair ramp,” he said.

For now, they’ll have to negotiate the bumps and wait for the sidewalks and curbs to be finished.

“Most of the streets are closed. It’s hard to find a street that you can go without the road being closed. Hopefully, they’ll get it done when they say they’re going to,” Anderson said.

Businesses are also ready for the roadwork to be over. Barry Silver, with Silver’s Vogue Shop, said it’s frustrating.

“It’s not like I knew this was gonna happen. I found out last Monday when I came into work. Nobody from the city said, ‘We’re going to close the street for three weeks and resurface.'”

He said it’s slowed business down.

“People can’t get in or out of town because of the closing of streets and less parking available.”

It’s also difficult to make a delivery downtown right now.

The roads, sidewalks, and curbs should be completed on August 26.