TULSA, OK – [May 15, 2013] – Tulsa’s Accessible Transportation Coalition in conjunction with the Tulsa Health Department and the Tulsa County Wellness Partnership are hosting a free public screening for the debut of Sidewalk Stories, a series of documentary short films about Tulsa sidewalks, at 7 p.m. on May 16 at the Arts and Humanities Hardesty Arts Center (AHHA).
Sidewalk Stories follows five Tulsa County residents who share their unique experiences with pedestrian accessibility in their district. The films were produced as part of a joint coalition effort to demonstrate the need for, and value of, sidewalks, accessible pedestrian amenities and general walkability in Tulsa.
“The public health community has recognized that a community’s walkability has a direct and specific relation to the health of its residents,” said Daphne Gaulden, Tulsa Health Department program coordinator for the Tulsa County Wellness Partnership. “Our ultimate goal is to encourage Tulsans to engage in more physical activity and to lead healthy lifestyles—walk more, bike more, however, we must first address the barriers to getting around safely.”
One of the individuals filmed for the project is the granddaughter of JoAnn Carlson, an 80-year old woman who was hit by a car while crossing Cherry Street on December 15, 2012. Carlson died one week later from her injuries. The driver of the vehicle still has not been found. Her granddaughter Josie Carlson agreed to share her story in order to encourage Tulsa County residents to support efforts to improve Tulsa sidewalks and crosswalks to prevent that from ever happening again.
The local economy could also benefit from improved sidewalks, crosswalks and accessibility ramps. When San Francisco made its Valencia Street better for bicyclists and pedestrians, nearly 40% of merchants reported increased sales and 60% reported more area residents shopping locally due to reduced travel time and convenience. Brady Arts District Business Association President Bob Fleischman appears in Sidewalk Stories to discuss the positive economic impact that sidewalk accessibility has had in the Brady Arts District.
Longtime community activist Nate Waters, who passed away in April, also appears in Sidewalk Stories. Waters was paralyzed and was a well-known advocate for the physically challenged community. His story highlights the need to bring all Tulsa sidewalks into ADA compliance to provide accessibility to all citizens.
Tulsa’s Capital Improvements Project vote will take place on November 5. The goal of Sidewalk Stories is to bring awareness to this important issue and to encourage city leaders to build more sidewalks and improve existing ones to ensure the mobility and safety of all users of all transportation systems.
For more information or to submit your own Sidewalk Story, please visit tulsasidewalkstories.com.
Accessible Transportation Coalition
The ATC believes that accessible paths of travel should be a hallmark of the community. The Coalition advocates for accessible transportation, including sidewalks and public transportation, in order to make Tulsa fully accessible to all citizens through a sustainably funded and interconnected, state of the art transportation network.
Tulsa County Wellness Partnership
TCWP is sponsored by the Family Health Coalition and the Tulsa Health Department. The partnership is dedicated to changing policy and environments in Tulsa County to make healthy eating and active living the easy choice in schools, workplaces and communities.