Man in wheelchair pushes for more accessible bus stops in Greenville

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 11:44 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -If you’re someone who frequently drives past bus stops around Greenville then you’ve probably seen Steven Hardy-Braz rolling in his wheelchair on the highway.

“I have to risk my life to move about,” Hardy-Braz said. “You’re denying my civil right and every other disabled person.”

According to Hardy-Braz, he is forced to ride his wheelchair in the road because he says bus stops in the city are not accessible to handicapped people.

“Come join me in the chair for a day, come try to wait for a bus and ride with me,” Hardy-Braz said.

It’s been about a year and a half since Hardy-Braz says he was hit while on his bike. After the accident, he says he was wheelchair-bound for a while but has since regained some ability to walk.

“I can walk a few steps, but some days the pain is too much,” Hardy-Braz said.

Hardy-Braz says riding the bus isn’t an issue, he says the difficulty to get there is. When riding he says he has to go against traffic which the city says has become a problem.

Greenville police say Hardy-Braz was told multiple times Wednesday it’s illegal to be in road.

“I feel I was doing none of the above,” Hardy-Braz said.

Police say Hardy-Braz was eventually given a ticket for impeding traffic.

While he has raised accessibility concerns, Greenville spokesperson Brock Letchworth released the following statement:

“The individual who disrupted traffic on city streets this morning has previously been made aware of the Pitt Area Transit System option for transportation but has elected not to utilize it and instead advocate in a way that endangers himself and other motorists on busy city streets.”

Brock Letchworth, Greenville PIO

Letchworth says the PATS option is free, but Hardy-Braz says he knew nothing.

“I would love to see any documentation that made me aware of this,” Hardy-Braz said. “Don’t recall.”

Although he had encounters with police, pedestrians, and bus drivers Wednesday, Hardy-Braz says he won’t stop fighting.

Hardy-Braz was also ticketed with impeding traffic back in January of 2022.

He says the city and state are breaking the Americans with Disabilities Act by not having bus stops accessible to handicapped people.

Letchworth says the city addresses upgrades to sidewalks and ramps each time a street is resurfaced.

Letchworth also says the city is in the process of studying the city’s transit system which will include steps to improve things like ADA compliance.