I’m breaking up with you!

Broken heartDear Melbourne,

You were once the love of my life. I always remember dreaming of us being together, wanting you as part of my life. Driving up to the city as a young girl with my parents, I couldn’t wait to build a relationship with you. I wanted to be in it for the long haul, a commitment where I would give back to you wherever I could.

When I got here – it was love at first sight! My heart fluttered  – nothing but adulation and infatuation. There was a sense of excitement at what could lie ahead for our future together. You lived up to my expectations for many years, and I feel we have endured a lot together – both of us growing along the way.

Although there comes a time as in any relationship, you need to review where you stand. Have we grown together, or have we grown apart? In some ways, your recent behavior feels to me like you are pushing me away. You no longer want me in YOUR life. This is how you have made me feel. I’m no longer in this ‘relationship’, I’m an outsider and it is like you don’t want to let me to be a part of you anymore. You have shut me out. It’s like I am no longer a valued participant or respected citizen at all these days.

That leaves me to think about our future together, and sadly I must say, I am not so sure we have one anymore. You must believe this is really hard for me to do. My heart breaks every time I think of it, but I need to let you know that our relationship is coming to an end.

We have been together for a very long time, more than 25 years. Over this time I am in awe of how much you have changed, and I do have to say that lately, I have become a bit tired and worn out in trying to make things better. If only we could go back to the way we were.

I accept that everything in life changes, but only when they are changes for the positive and you take into consideration the feelings of others. I have had a disability during all of the time we have been together, and although things have changed with my disability, I am still unable to access many things and face constant barriers – day in, day out.

I just need to be honest and share with you some of the disappointing and frustrating behavior from you lately. I think you need to know you have hurt me.

The first thing is that you have become way too populated, which in turn may be the outcome of the increased traffic? I’m not 100% sure this is the reason, but travelling from home to the city should not take 30 minutes. After all, it is only 3.1kms!

Barrier at Disabled parking bay

And once I get to the city, adding on an extra 20 minutes at least to find parking that is acceptable is just a waste of time. You say you have no control over Motorbikes parking on the sidewalk blocking Disabled Parking bays – well, I think this is unacceptable. Not to mention the bicycles doing the same thing. I have come across a few instances of actual bike racks on the sidewalk next to disabled parking bays as well. Seriously, what were you thinking?

Parking in private paid parking venues can be a challenge for my disability, not to mention for many others, but I’m not sure you realize this. Firstly, driving down a hill and needing to reach out the window for a ticket is something that brings on an anxiety attack for me.  Driving everywhere else is fine, but with driving with a prosthetic, it can move when you lean out the window. In addition, my Scleroderma fingers can be tricky to pull out a tiny piece of paper from a slot. So choice for me is sometimes limited.

Ah, I can hear you now! You are going to defend yourself and tell me to get public transport. Well, I would need to drive to an accessible option – if I am doing that, why would I then get out of my car. I’d have the same issue with parking – so why would I bother!

Public transport has only minimally improved during our relationship. We have a mish-mash of parts of Tram routes that are accessible, so where you get on might be accessible – but where you want to get off might not be. This works the same way with our Buses, a continuous journey of accessibility is always a challenge. Ok, so you have improved your Trains, but we have a long way to go with some of our stations. A work in progress, I hear you say! I know we all want to make ourselves better, and that is what I know you are trying to do. You just need to think about not taking away parking options until you get it all 100% right.

And let’s talk about your friends (surrounding Suburbs/Council areas). Sadly, they are too busy looking into the past rather than the future! They are determined to keep Cobblestones as a heritage look in their precincts, without considering how this will impact our aging population. With an aging population comes increased disability, so why look into the past when it is the future we should be thinking about. It is just so sad to see that they continue to use cobblestones in surrounding areas of Disabled Parking bays. I have already had one of my colleagues trip on them sustaining injuries. How can you convince them that we need to consider needs of others – and stop living in the past! Your friends are a bit selfish, don’t you think?

Bisabled Parking Bay with bike racksYou tell me all the time that you want to become a cycling and walking city. I do admire you for wanting to better yourself – we should all have goals. I am all for it, but you also need to think again in your strategies.  This is great for those who CAN use bikes or walk, but let’s not forget those who can’t. People with disability have different needs and I do hold in hope that you won’t create any more barriers in your goal to add in bike lanes, bus lanes or any other reason. Some of us really don’t have the option – please stop excluding us from your city.

In the last 3 months, on average I have put in at least 3 complaints a week to yourself and your friends. It is tiresome. A relationship with someone you love should not be this hard. I must say, I no longer feel included in your city.

And you may think I have cheated on you, and in some ways I have. In every relationship, if you are not getting what you need you try to get it from somewhere else.

So Melbourne, we are finally over. You are now my ex-boyfriend. I used to be in love with you, Melbourne. But now I need to let you go. I’m sure there will be a cyclist or person of another ability that will replace me as the love of your life. That’s ok.

I thank you for the time we have had together, I do mean that in the most sincere way. We have grown apart and all I have left to say to you is good luck in your new relationship.

Warm regards,

Amanda

4 thoughts on “I’m breaking up with you!”

  1. Thanks, Amanda, for writing this. I actually learnt a lot about barriers to mobility that I hadn’t known about before. And I’m definitely with you about the cobblestones. I’m very mobile but have hyper-flexible joints and the cobblestones take an immense amount of focus and care if I’m to avoid a twisted ankle, even in flat shoes. I think there always needs to be an accompanying smooth footpath – clear of all rubbish bins, bike racks, outdoor dining etc – if cobblestones are to continue to be used.

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