Lawton_Handicapped accessible bus stops aren't something you might think about if you aren't disabled. But, their lack of accessibility is a big problem in the city of Lawton. Next time you're driving your car through the city, take a look at the bus stops.
Many don't have ramps, making it nearly impossible for scooters and walkers. Others have ramps, but don't have sidewalks, leaving the handicapped person in the middle of the busy road. 7News spent some time with Muriel Schulte who has some trouble getting around. She uses a walker and she showed us just how difficult it is to navigate to a bus stop.
"See like this, there's a hole right here," she says. "So anybody coming across the grass they hit the hole, their walkers going this way and they're going down." At the bus stop on Ferris, Muriel is forced to make her way through the grass using her walker just to get to the bus stop - she has no choice - it's either the grass or the middle of the street.
"We need those crosswalks. We need the ramps," says Muriel. Getting off the bus is just as tricky. "They said, 'well, where can we let you off?' And I said the only safe place you've got to let me off is in front of McMahon Auditorium." And, that drop off point is in the opposite direction and much farther away from her home.
Muriel says it's not just that particular bus stop, either - they're all over Lawton. In fact, the majority aren't handicapped accessible. And, Muriel says doesn't just want the changes for herself, but for those that may have even more difficulties. "Seniors that are in their 80s and 90s that get around using wheelchairs or walkers or canes," she says.
She says she won't give up until something is done, but she may not have to fight for the cause much longer. Both the Lawton Assistant City Manager and the LATS General Manager told 7News the plan is in the works. The Comanche Tribe recently donated $100,000 to the cause. The plan is still in draft stages, but once it's finished, the city hopes to get to work as soon as possible.