Access denied: gaining a disabled person’s perspectiveAugust 18, 2010
By Stephen Lee Davis
We’ve talked a bit here for nearly two years about the need to make our streets safe and accessible for all users — whether young, old, walkers, bikers, drivers, or wheelchair users. Almost every time we post pictures like this or this showing inaccessible conditions on our streets, it’s a reminder of how shocking it is that we build infrastructure in our communities that is almost impossible for certain citizens to use comfortably or at all.
Yesterday, we got an invite to add one of our photos to a Flickr group we’d not noticed before. Taking a few moments to scan through all 50 or so pictures can give you fresh eyes for looking at the streets and sidewalks around us.
Some of the problems in these photos are certainly systemic issues with how we build and design our streets or other public spaces. Some others, like having doors open outward, result from a lack of understanding or a failure of design. Until you’ve been in a wheelchair trying to get down the street to the movie theater or the drugstore, you probably don’t notice doors that are slightly too narrow, ramps that are too steep, or sidewalks without entry ramps.
They’re not all transportation-related, but this group’s photos are well worth a look.