Meet Brian Hanson. He’s a Fremont resident, Newark elementary school gym teacher and a wheelchair athlete. He’s been doing laps around Lake Elizabeth for almost two decades, but he’s never faced an obstacle quite like the one the Alameda County Flood Control Water Conservation District put in his path this June.
Like BART, the flood control district is doing some work around the lake. But unlike BART, instead of building a nice, smooth detour path over the lake, the flood control district laid about 50 feet of gravel along the lake where there had been a smoothly paved path.
The gravel is a big pain in the butt for Hanson, who at least is strong enough to pop a super long wheely over it. But less powerful wheelchair riders can’t traverse the gravel, and consequently can’t ride around the lake.
Rollerbladers and kids on scooters are also affected. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act, and Hanson thinks it’s being violated in Fremont’s backyard.
I placed a call into the flood control district on Wednesday, but haven’t heard back from them. Hanson said he was told the work should be completed and the path repaved by the end of of August.
Even if that’s the case, that means several Central Park users will have gone a full summer without full access to the lake.
“It wouldn’t have taken much to have paved this over,” Hanson said. “It seems like they just took the cheap way to solve the problem.”