CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A trip to the local convenience store should be simple. But for many living within the area of Navigation Boulevard and Bear Lane who are without a car, a trip down the street is anything but convenient.
“Some people wait for me, and others don’t,” said 68-year-old Clarence Hoodye, who we found traveling in his motorized wheelchair heading to his apartment after visiting the Stripes on Old Brownsville Road. “It is scary.”
Hoodye lives at Navigation Pointe Apartment Homes — approximately .8 miles north of the Stripes. Navigation Boulevard does have a dedicated sidewalk, but it ends right after Bear Lane — about .2 miles from the convenience store.
That issue is a safety concern for other pedestrians too.
“There’s a lot of traffic that slows down — moves out of the way — moves over when they see me,” said Freddie Welsh, a long-term resident who lives in a house near Green Tree Drive and walks along the street daily to exercise. “But on my way back, the traffic’s coming from behind me and they don’t do the same thing because I’m not making eye contact with them, so that’s when they pass a little bit close to me.”
KRIS 6 News did see some people instead walk through the overgrown grassy area to the side, but Welsh said that can also introduce problems.
“Once summer time comes — it’s mosquito season,” Welsh said. “You walk in that grass, you’re going to be covered by mosquitoes … and plus, if there’s any holes or anything, I’m not going to see them — I’m going to trip. I’m old already, I’m going to break an arm — I can’t afford a trip.”
Additionally, Welsh claims that — many years ago — there is a sidewalk along that grassy area of Navigation, but that it was ultimately forgotten.
“Then the sidewalk was visible, and it was clean, but since then, it’s been neglect and been covered up with ground,” he said. “Nobody’s ever said anything about it, nobody’s ever wanted to use it, but I want to use it, I feel like I got a right to use it, and that’s why I I pay my taxes and that’s where I think — well it belongs to the city — and I would like to use that sidewalk and be able to walk on the sidewalk safely.”
KRIS 6 News reached out to the city of Corpus Christi regarding the stretch of street, as well as to check in on the progress of their ADA Master Plan from 2012.
On Tuesday, the city of Corpus Christi responded, stating that the city continues to use the master plan "as a guide for improvements in association with street maintenance and reconstruction activities."
"Public Works is going to be re-evaluating the conditions of the city’s road network and in conjunction with that process we will be evaluating sidewalks and ADA ramps," the statement added. "We plan to have an updated inventory or our infrastructure by this time next year which can be used to update the ADA Master Plan at that time."
Hoodye said about two or three years ago, he spoke with a news outlet, but nothing ever changed. Still, he’s trying to remain positive.
“I hope things get better, you know,” he said.
The city of Corpus Christi also added that Navigation Boulevard was last constructed in `1998 as a rural section of roadway without the presence of curbs, gutters and sidewalks, effectively quashing Welsh's claim.
"The drainage is composed of bar ditches down both sides to convey storm water which hinders the installation of a sidewalk retrofit," said Gabriela Morrow, a public information officer for the city. "Navigation is currently on our list submitted in our Capital Project Plan as a candidate for upcoming bond allocations. We will continue to prioritize this roadway for the next bond review. Also, if the vacant lot is developed prior to the Capital project the developer would be required to install sidewalks along Navigation Boulevard."