Man says new Puyallup crosswalks dangerous for wheelchair users

PUYALLUP, Wash. — A disabled man says newly re-designed crosswalks are dangerous for people in wheelchairs.

His family has asked the city to do something about them, but they have not been satisfied with the response.

The issue has to do with the placement of the crosswalk buttons.

It was never an issue for Matt Budzak, until several crosswalks on South Meridian were changed late this summer.

He used to be able to reach the buttons when they were on posts bolted to the sidewalk.  Now, several of them have been raised and are separated by a curb.

Budzak says it keeps him from getting around safely like he used to. The 23-year-old uses his motorized wheelchair every day to get fresh air and to have some independence.

But when he gets to a crosswalk where he can't reach the crosswalk signal button, he has to wait, then bolt across the street, hoping he doesn't get hit.

"I would like to see these be more accessible,” said Matt Budzak.

Budzak and his mother say they've asked the city why it made the change and they haven't gotten any answers.

“I'm concerned about his welfare and getting hit by a car," said his mother, Tracie Budzak.

A spokesperson for the city told KIRO 7 the family's complaint must not have been received by the right department, but they will take a close look at several newly redesigned crosswalks to ensure they meet the state and federal standards for people with disabilities.