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Man in wheelchair takes video of dangerous trek into Southridge

GREENDALE (WITI) — Some Milwaukee residents and city leaders are fed up with the inconvenience at Southridge Mall. Since the property owners decided to move the bus stop from the front of the mall to the perimeter road, it has been problematic for the elderly and disabled.

John Haupt is wheelchair bound, and is also a member of the Commission for the Disabled. He recently captured video of his trek to the mall. The snow and the bitter cold this winter have made Haupt’s journey difficult — and that is compounded by the fact that buses now drop off mall-goers a good distance from the mall’s entrance.

“My left thumb was white and frostbit for a few days,” Haupt says.

The video shows it is difficult for Haupt to navigate his way to the mall, and as a member of the Commission for the Disabled, he is trying to generate awareness.

“A person who is blind, a person who is using double crutches — there`s all kinds of problems. Someone said a person who has a respiratory ailment — that is very difficult,” Haupt said.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik rode the bus to Southridge Mall, and after making a similar journey, she is now leading a coalition of other supervisors, community leaders and businesses in a boycott.

“I myself will not shop at Southridge. I`ve called on others to let Simon (the company that owns Southridge) know that if they continue in this way that we can respond with our feet by not going into Southridge. They are putting bus users in more danger,” Jursik said.

Jursik says she is leading the push to “tell Simon Properties that this will not stand. This is not the way Milwaukee County treats our elderly and disabled.”

The response could come in legal form as well.

“We are asking corporation counsel to explore whether this violates ADA — Americans with Disabilities Act or any other legal route we can take,” Jursik said.

Those in opposition say they hope education will lead to change.

“We are hoping that Simon Properties takes a second look at the decision that they relocate the bus stop,” Haupt said.

Jursik is in the process of planning a second bus event to Southridge Mall in Greendale. She says the village received money and tax breaks to help improve the mall and these actions are wrong, and the citizens are outraged.

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6 comments

  • Alan

    Transit Plus is a much more expensive service and is available only to riders who are not able to use regular service. Many (most?) wheelchair users are able to use regular bus service, as can people with physical disabilities using crutches, walkers, blind people, etc. But being able to get on the bus doesn’t mean they have easy going once off the bus in poor weather conditions. After all, people with physical disabilities can also drive cars, but we provide parking spaces that are close to the building, so why wouldn’t we make sure the bus stops are also? This new bus stop is much farther away than even all the car parking spaces for “able-bodied” people. Physically disabled AND able-bodied customers should have bus stops that are efficient, safe, and convenient for getting to the stores.

    • Sara

      You’re kidding me right? Do you not understand that even WITH having gloves on, he has to touch the wheels, which are in fact going through the snow and the wheels are wet. Which, I’m sorry, does not keep your hands from getting cold. And if you watched the video before giving your knee jerk response, he HAS to take the gloves off because otherwise he can not grip onto the wheels, the gloves just slide.

      But I’m glad that this article, all you took from it was that he should be wearing gloves. Pay no mind that people with disabilities are having a difficult time getting to the mall that is 1,000 feet away from the bus stop. John, is just ONE of many examples of people with disabilities. Pay no mind that if you OWN a car, you get to park less than 50 feet from the mall if you’re disabled, but if you catch the bus, it’s a whole different ball game.

  • Libby

    ^^ Really? You shuffle your kids from building to car or school bus. They aren’t outside for an extended amount of time like some of these people are. Wheelchair gloves are different from normal gloves, also. Have some compassion for the disabled who are struggling.
    On another note, I don’t really understand how moving the bus line makes the mall so much better. It is obviously making it worse for it’s consumers…

  • Grace

    Maybe they want teens to pester in the parking lot longer or it’s a way for them to track consumers who don’t have much means.for south ridge mall:I do hope all disabled people take their business elsewhere!

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