How accessible is your environment???

April 9, 2010 at 9:14 am Leave a comment

As I move through my typical day, I am frequently spotting accessibility issues in the environment: that really steep curb ramp, that very harshly sloped sidewalk, or that extremely heavy interior door.  We all have these experiences, but how often do we think about how we would manage these scenarios if we used a mobility device?  If we had a vision impairment?  

I spent the last few days at a Level II ADAAG (Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines) training, where we had the opportunity to practice completion of an ADA survey on the hotel.  I anticipated that we would find some issues, but was amazed at not only the number of items that were out of compliance, but the severity.  For example, slope on a curb ramp should not exceed more than 2% in all directions (running and cross slope).  One of the curb ramps was measured at 10% running and 8% cross, which would prove to not only be difficult for a wheelchair user, but potentially unsafe as well.  The majority of the doors within the hotel were double-doors, allowing only a 29” clear space when one was open, instead of 32”.  Many of the interior doors were also very heavy, measuring an average of 7-8 pounds of pressure to open instead of the maximum of 5 pounds.  Signage was also an issue, noting that the restroom signs were placed on the door itself, which would be a hazard for a user needing to access the Braille on the sign during wayfinding.  

These are only a few of the accessibility problems that we encountered at this hotel.  I could write multiple paragraphs on the issues we uncovered in just the ladies restroom, alone, and I have not even brought up the parking!   I cannot imagine the countless other buildings/facilities that are also out of compliance.  I can only hope that they are continuing to actively make changes to maximize their accessibility to allow for all patrons to access all services.  Why should it be any other way?

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Entry filed under: Accessibility. Tags: , , , , .

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