October 7, 2019
Let’s talk accessibility this time around. My guess is accessibility is likely not a subject most people spend much time thinking about. Sure, when you see someone who is in a wheelchair or perhaps a blind person, if you’re like me you think it would be terrible to live that way. Then it passes and you lose that thought until the next time someone with an obvious handicap crosses your path.
So what’s got me going on the topic? Today on a web based news source I saw a piece about a deaf woman being rejected at the drive threw at Tim Hortorns. It was clear from the video that the drive threw workers were under pressure from the longer and longer line up waiting to get their order. Additionally they were frustrated by their inability, unwillingness or lack of patience to deal with the young woman. Tim’s has been in decline for a while now, unless they manage this situation correctly they may experience further decline. Accessibility training and an apology is needed to say the least.
Until about five years ago I had little idea what accessibility was. Handicap parking spot and a sturdy bar next to the toilet in an over sized stall and I thought this establishment has it covered. Five years ago however, my knees began to get progressively worse, bad enough that I had to take time off work which eventually forced me to retire. Now with two canes and most often a walker, I have a much better idea what accessibility is really all about.
Stairs without railings, even two stairs is too many. Water on the floor, even with a yellow warning sign often seen in stores, creates a slip hazard for a person with canes or crutches. A floor mat with ripples or a turned up corner is a trip hazard for anyone, it’s worse for a person trying to navigate with crutches, canes, walker or wheelchair. Another accessibility feature often missed by architects and builders alike is a handicap washroom. I’ve been in new buildings that cost multiple millions of dollars to erect that do not have a truely accessible washrooms. I can’t blame the designers of these structures, they simply haven’t thought it through. So what is a proper handicap washroom? I would not have known until I found myself in this situation. A real handicap washroom is one in which a person with the handicap can be accompanied by his or her spouse or care giver into a separate washroom. It can be embarrassing and awkward to recruit a waiter or waitress to stand guard at the door to ensure privacy. How bad can it be to build a separate private handicap washroom when millions are being spent anyway?
Until next time, I’ll be out and around
My thoughts on a variety of subjects, not meant to be controversial but perhaps bringing ideas to light that possibly would go unthought of.