Man unable to walk shovels snow to raise awareness about accessibility

A Wisconsin man said he is frustrated by how others won't meet their obligation to clear sidewalks after it snows.
Posted at 2:24 PM, Feb 27, 2023

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Milwaukee resident Matt Felton, who is a wheelchair user, spent part of the day clearing snow and ice off of sidewalks.

"A couple of days ago, a lady posted that she was hoping that people would do a little bit better job shoveling and that she had fallen down and I was dismayed that some people had actually called her a 'Karen,'" said Felton, who knows all too well how challenging it can be when snow and ice are not cleaned up after a storm like the one Southeast Wisconsin experienced this past week.

"It's frustrating because people just can't relate, I guess. And, it's just frustrating when people are really quick to spout out something when I know for a fact that if their situation were to change like mine did they would be talking a different story," he said.

Five years ago, while preparing to hike Mount Everest, Felton said he had both of his legs blown off when a fuel tank burst in a van he was in. The tank exploded at 4,000 psi. 

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On Sunday, his dog Luna pulled his wheelchair and Felton was armed with a shovel and and ice pick.

"Maybe people see this and they realize we're all in the community and we're all in this together. And, there's a lot of people that have the ability to get out there and do stuff like this to help other people out," said Felton. 

As Felton traveled throughout Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood clearing the leftover snow and ice from sidewalks, people offered to help.

"A bunch of people came down and helped and when I first showed up people saw me doing it and they offered to take a shovel and help out too and so people have been very responsive. It's been great."

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Felton is an engaged citizen who is not trying to raise a fuss, but instead is trying to raise awareness, while hoping more people will step up and do their part to help keep sidewalks accessible for all residents.

"I was once like that too and I think if people had more of an understanding of hey this could happen to me... I don't want to get on anybody's case about this. I just want people to help," said Felton.

According to the City of Milwaukee's Department of Public Works, sidewalks must be clear of snow and ice 24 hours after snow had stopped falling.