pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma
Picture of panel inside train bathroom indicating whether door is locked, using lit symbols of locked and unlocked padlocks, about 1.5x1.5in. Print and braille text reading "door locked/unlocked when lit" point at the correct lights.

Bathroom in train from Stratford to London. Can you tell what's missing?
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[personal profile] roserodent

Now that my daughter is getting too big to change on a baby changing unit I am searching for more facilities where I can change her on a full-sized changing bench. I found a database of facilities at last (hurrah!) but not only found there are only two facilities in my whole city, one is inside a private leisure centre changing room where you have to have paid for a swim to get in. I am sure they would probably let us in if we spent time queuing to ask them. The main facility is located inside a government building. To get into this building you have to queue up to have your bag searched, a body search, metal detector screening, wheelchairs swabbed, basically the full airport deal. If I didn't need to change a wet child before we did all that, I sure will afterwards!! Hoist users better have about and hour's notice before wanting to use the toilet or change.
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[personal profile] roserodent
I am sure we have all seen this one in its many guises, but I thought it was a particularly spectacular example given that nobody of historically recorded human height could have reached this pull cord. It's about 10 feet up.

Picture of emergency pull cord tied up to ceiling height
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[personal profile] roserodent
Need I say more? Argh! The hospital has a special design of pedal bin that you cannot open by hand at all. It's to help with infection control so you don't have to touch the bins. So instead you have to lean out of your chair and push the bar where others have put their feet and push it with your hand. You cannot wash your hands afterwards because the paper towel goes in the pedal bin.

Who thinks of these things? Does anyone think?
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[personal profile] roserodent
This lovely notice on the door of a disabled toilet states that it is to be shared between disabled toilet and baby changing. Now, marks for remembering to think of a disabled toilet at all, and yes it's very common to have to share with nappy changing, BUT this particular event is a special event for parents of young children. It's an unusually disporportionate number of people in need of nappy changing facilities, therefore facilities should be separated.

Anyway, I couldn't get my wheelchair inside the toilet. It's a 40cm sports model, so goodness knows what size of wheelchair they had in mind when they made it, I am guessing they manufactured it the size they can carry on a truck and worked backwards to make it level access and fit some ridiculously placed bars.

So my apologies if you were among the people who had to watch me go to the bathroom yesterday because I couldn't shut the door, but ...


Sign on toilet reads Priority for baby changing and disabled users
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[personal profile] roserodent
Described in text below

Text description: Clearly posted on the door of the disabled toilet is a notice saying the toilet is closed for cleaning and please use the disabled toilet instead.

Doh!
aedifica: Me looking down at laptop (off screen).  Short hair. (Default)
[personal profile] aedifica
Thanks everyone for your comments on this post a month ago about the not-entirely-wheelchair-accessible "accessible" bathroom. I finally wrote the letter last week (incorporating the things that were pointed out in comments), let it sit a week so I could look over it with fresh eyes, edited it to be clearer, and I'm sending it today.
aedifica: Me looking down at laptop (off screen).  Short hair. (Default)
[personal profile] aedifica
I was in a restaurant last week and when I went to the bathroom I saw it said on the door in huge letters "WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE." So that got me thinking about accessibility more than I normally might. The first thing I noticed is that when I turned to lock the door, I saw that the door lock is placed *very* high on the door, about head height--high enough that I don't think I could reach it if I were sitting in a wheelchair. (Or if I had shoulder mobility issues.) So I'm thinking I'll write them a letter asking them to put a lock lower on the door.

Here are the other things I noticed, only I don't know if these are features or bugs--should I include them in the letter?

- There was a horizontal bar on the wall next to the toilet, like you usually see in wheelchair stalls. The toilet paper holder was at the same level as the bar, on the end of the bar away from the toilet, which made me think it might be a little hard to reach (it was a little hard for *me* to reach that far forward, and I'm currently-able-bodied). Would having it above the bar closer to the toilet be easier or harder, or is that something that depends on the person?

- The sink was really high. Is that a good thing, so you can scoot your chair in close enough to reach, or a bad thing? Or again, something that depends on the person?
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[personal profile] archersangel
first let me say that neither my brother or i are disabled & wouldn't have taken this "accessible room" but it was the only one that was available.

point 1; the door was standard width & i had trouble wheeling my wheeled duffel over the threshold, so i imagine it would be hard for someone in a wheelchair.

point 2; the room itself was small, with only about 18-20 inches between the beds. about a foot between the bed on the right and the wall for the bathroom. the bed on the left was about 2 1/2 feet from the window, but there was a big armchair by the head of the bed. there was a good deal of space from the foot of the beds to the TV & desk.

point 3; the bathroom did have a rail by the toilet, but the toilet was in an alcove between the shower & bathroom wall. there was a rail in the shower, but it was a standard bathtub. the sink wasn't a vanity, but it seemed too high for someone in a wheelchair to use & the mirror didn't go all of the way down behind it.

so other than the rails, i saw little that would make this an "accessible room."
druidspell: Would you say you worship Satan, or do you simply respect his no-nonsense approach to discipline? (Satan)
[personal profile] druidspell
I'm temporarily able-bodied, although I became much more aware of accessibility issues during the winter and spring of 2007 and 2008 when I was laid out with spiral comminuted fractures of my right tibia and fibula. The fail I'm reporting is at the University of Kentucky's Slone Building, built in 1960. The Slone Building is part of the Earth Sciences department, and is used for classrooms, office space, and lab space primarily for the Earth Sciences department, but also for other departments (e.g. I took an Archaeology class in there once, my sister took a Sociology class, etc.).
The building is pictured here and here.

That's the front of the building. The fail starts here.
There are 12 disabled accessible parking spaces--located in the back of the building. The front of the building is accessible via sidewalk--that has a five and a half inch curb between it and street level. To park in the permit-controlled lot as a student, you must have a UK disabled parking permit, even if you have a state disabled license plate or tag. If you are a visitor, you must park in a non-permit controlled lot, or in a metered parking lot (the closest of either of which is more than a block away).
The front doors of the building are 28 inches wide, but the doors weren't hung properly, so they are difficult to open even for someone without mobilitiy or pain issues. They also lack any type of automatic open function, so that if you are, for instance, confined to a wheelchair with cerebral palsy like my friend H., you must wait for outside assistance to enter or exit the building.
The first floor of the building is only office space; the labs and classrooms are on the second and third floors. To reach the elevator, follow the corridor to the left until you reach a set of double doors. Again, these double doors aren't automatic, and are awkward to manage if you're also managing any type of device intented for mobility assistance (wheelchair, cane, crutches, etc.).
The elevator doors are narrow and the elevator itself is small; it was intended as a service elevator, not one to be used by students. The buttons for the upper floors may be out of reach for someone in a wheelchair. It's not prompt, so that if you're using crutches or a cane, you'll be on your feet waiting for a good minute and a half or more--not much time in the grand scheme of things, but if you're exhausted and in pain even nanoseconds drag.
In addition to putting the classrooms and labs on the second and third floors, the building features only one accessible bathroom: the men's room on the first floor. There is no women's bathroom on the first floor. No other bathrooms are designed for disabled access.
sarah: (achtung baby)
[personal profile] sarah
I am not disabled. My girlfriend [personal profile] synecdochic is, thanks to a genetic disorder of the connective tissue. When not at home, she uses either a cane or a wheelchair.

Before her disease progressed to the point where she required an assistive device to walk more than twenty feet, I gave physical accessibility as much consideration as the average non-disabled person: when I thought of it at all, it was to note the presence of a ramp or parking space or the like. I never realized the sheer number of small (and not-so-small) obstacles a physically-disabled person must navigate to traverse the same distance I can walk across without a second thought.

[personal profile] synecdochic jokes that I'm more apt to rant about a non-accessible space than she; I say that's because I have the energy to spare, since I'm not the one who has to hoist myself over a crappy curb-cut or make a fifty-yard detour to find an entrance without steps.

We're spending the next couple evenings at a Marriott in northern Virginia while I attend a work-related conference. My annoyance at our less-than-ideally-accessible room spurred the creation of this community.

photo of a wheelchair caster jammed against an elevated threshold

This is the doorway of our handicapped-accessible room. Hardly noticeable to someone not in a wheelchair, jumping a threshold this high takes surprising momentum with the standard-sized casters equipped on this wheelchair. (The casters are the two small wheels in front.) Not only is momentum difficult to build up when you're on carpet, it can't be done when you're maneuvering through a doorway alone, as you need one hand to hold open the dor and the other on the doorframe; you have to haul yourself through from a standstill.</td>

image of a bathroom sink and mirror

Some effort has clearly been made to make this sink accessible. Note the lack of a vanity, allowing the wheelchair-user to get close to the sink.

image of me in D's chair pulled up to the sink

But removing the vanity's only the first step: the sink was installed at the standard height for the non-wheelchair user. Note how high I have to lift my arms to reach the bowl. The mirror's also mounted too high. I can't see anything below my nose while sitting straight-backed in the chair.

image of D's wheelchair next to a toilet

A standard toilet bowl sits 14"-15" off the floor. An accessible toilet bowl should be 17"-19" high. It's amazing how much of a difference those couple inches make. Lacking a ruler, you can judge the height of this toilet by the height of D's wheelchair: her seat is 15" high. Not only are higher-than-standard seats essential for the disabled, they're more comfortable for seniors, heavily-pregnant women, or anyone who experiences hip and knee pain. I really don't know why this higher height hasn't become the standard.

image of double-hung glass doors

While the main doors in the lobby are accessible, the doors to the sole designated outdoor smoking area are not. Each door is less than 24" wide. D's chair is about 21" wide at the base; she could not get through without having two doors held open (remember that a certain amount of clearance is required for your hands to push your wheel rims). Even worse, the doors were poorly hung, making them extremely heavy. Again, this isn't just a problem for a person in a wheelchair. It's difficult for anyone using a cane, for anyone with decreased upper-body strength, or for a senior citizen.

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You Fail At Accessibility

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