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Bruce D. Brovold, Fargo, Published February 10 2013

Letter: Surely Fargo and the state have resources for pedestrian bridge

The winter gave us a very cold January. The wind chills were extreme for outdoor activities, mail carriers, paper carriers, schoolchildren and for all pedestrians. It was exceptionally brutal for the elderly and people with handicaps and disabilities.

I do not get around much anymore due to a chronic painful health problem. However, when I do get out, I still see people in this extreme cold waiting for slow-moving or stopped trains at Fargo’s downtown railroad crossings. As I have watched this travesty happen over all these years, my heart cries out for these people. Some are too poor to have cars; some still have to walk to work – people needing to get to grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals and clinics.

What is so sad is to see the elderly and disabled residents needlessly freezing during a seemingly endless wait. I have seen so many more trains over the years; it is almost nonstop.

Back in 2006, Mayor Dennis Walaker made a statement in The Forum. He thought that the elderly and disabled should just stay home in the winter. What? Yes, it is easier and cheaper to shut these people in their homes than to build handicapped-accessible railroad crossings for them. It was also a slap in their faces.

I have been an advocate for the disabled and the elderly for years. I have been trying to have Fargo build some handicapped pedestrian train overpasses or tunnels. I was told many years ago by a city commissioner that one was in the plans for the South Broadway and Main Avenue crossing; however, it never was built. I have been to many City Commission meetings and written letters to the editor proclaiming the need for help for these residents.

I even designed a handicapped pedestrian bridge on my computer and showed it to the commissioners. I named it the “Bridge to the Future.” However, my pleas for help for these vulnerable residents go unanswered. Then only to hear a couple of million dollars has been spent for two bridges over the Red River, for joggers, walkers and bicyclists.

I guess recreation and beautification comes before safety.

Hear ye, Fargo, with the state of North Dakota’s fat coffers, please go to Bismarck and lobby for money to build these handicapped bridges or tunnels for the most vulnerable residents. Please quit wasting our tax dollars on feasibility studies.

These vulnerable residents are our elderly parents, grandparents and also our children. How can anyone say they cannot afford to help these people?