Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oakland seniors team up with district associations to make it easier to get around by Oakland North

Senior Citizen Task Force members at work during a cleanup day at Snow Park. Photo courtesy Andrew Jones.
Senior Citizen Task Force members at work during a cleanup day at Snow Park. Photo courtesy Andrew Jones.
Every Tuesday morning, Paul Tutwiler and his friends set out from the Lake Park senior complex in Oakland’s Gold Coast neighborhood wearing orange safety vests and carrying cameras and notebooks. Dressed in a khaki cargo jacket and green felt hat while on a recent outing, Tutwiler looked like a hoary Indiana Jones as the crew headed down 17th Street towards downtown, stopping frequently to examine the sidewalk.

“Now look, here’s a really bad one,” 83-year-old Tutwiler said, indicating a buckled block of sidewalk. “There’s a jagged edge that’s about three inches up and it’s caused by this tree, as you can see. If you are sort of shuffling along and you don’t lift your feet as high as your mother told you to, then you stumble on that.” He jotted notes on his clipboard before herding the group onward.
Most of the seniors who participate in this weekly walk are part of a Senior Citizen Task Force that works with the Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt-Uptown district associations. The collaboration is dedicated to getting the neighborhoods’ seniors more engaged in their community. Tutwiler and the others want to make it easier for seniors to get to nearby restaurants and galleries—and one way to encourage people to get out is by tackling obstacles to mobility, like reporting troublesome patches of sidewalk to Oakland’s Public Works Department.

Making it easier for seniors to get around will help them build ties with people who live nearby—and they say it’s good for them and for Oakland. “We’re part of a senior community here, but you know, we want to be part of this community,” says task force member Bob Redman. “We want to be part of the positive things.”

To read the whole story, click here.

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