Universal Design: Public Bathrooms Part II

March 12, 2010 at 7:11 am 1 comment

It is amazing to me that you can still find a public restroom that does not have adequate signage for the blind and visually impaired.  In Dwell’s Universal Design: Public Bathrooms Part II video, the building is very old but could easily be retrofitted with correct signage.  Having the word “men” carved into the cement block that is above the bathroom door is barely enough signage for an able-bodied person, let alone anyone else.  Although it is an old building, it’s main use is for the public as a restroom, but I cannot imagine that the doorway, with the door opening in and to the right partially obstructing the entrance, is wide enough to allow for a person using a mobility device to enter easily.

As for the Automatic Public Toilet in Madison Square Park, I really like the idea that it will be sprayed between each use. Although, if one was not aware of this feature, they might be concerned why the floor was wet.  Perhaps signage within the bathroom denoting this feature might be helpful.  I was unable to determine from the video itself, but my assumption is that the door was at least 36” wide when it opens to allow a wheelchair user enough clearance.  The wall-hung toilet within the bathroom does allow for more clear floor space and there appears to be enough space next to the toilet for transfers.  Also noted are the grab bars around the toilet itself, but what I do not see is where the toilet paper dispenser is located.

 Going back to signage, the outside of the toilet facility does appear to have some signage with Braille under the words “Automatic Toilet”, but I did not see any Braille to denote if the bathroom was vacant, occupied, night closure or out of order.  Instead, print and a visual cue are given.  I also could not determine if Braille was available for all of the functions for both the sink and the door within the bathroom itself. Perhaps the use of some other audible alert might be helpful as well.

What are your thoughts on the Automatic Public Toilet?  Would you use it?

Entry filed under: Bathrooms. Tags: , , , , , .

Universal Design versus Accessible Design in a bathroom Aging-in-Place products

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Wally Dutcher  |  March 12, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    The one thing I noted, beyond the previous comments, was the configuration of the commode rim. It should have been configured to be more comfortable as well as being a size that would accommodate children. As to the previous comments regarding braille to denote all of the signage as well as status. With regard to status, the better solution would be to have a audible signal with differing signals for which an instruction plaque in braille would describe the sounds. As far as the sink is concerned, there is insufficient front-to-wall depth to allow a wheelchair to get far enough to reach the soap, water and dryer functions.


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