Getting there … or, Not.

The other day, my daughter sent me a link to this post by Xenakis, which describes the wonderful side of Universal Design. In other words, build something right from the start, and you won’t have to go back and tack on ugly access structures.

plaza in Robson Square, Vancouver, with long flight of stairs and ramps making diagonal switchbacks up the hill

plaza in Robson Square, Vancouver, with ramps making diagonal switchbacks across the long flight of stairs up the hill

There are a few problems I can see with this approach.  One is that it might be too easy for a wheelie to get off-ramp — perhaps there are guiding impediments that I can’t see in the image. Also, someone commenting on Xenakis’ post, points out that people who walk up ramps often need hand rails, and the rails are only along the stairs. Personally, I would also like to see some kind of contrast striping between the stairs and the ramps; can you imagine going up or down this in a rainy, dark night?

Nonetheless, it’s still a really cool advancement over the traditional Deep Flight of Stairs Up to an Official Building.

Next up in today’s post on accessibility:  some pix from the Fail Blog. When access is SO BAD that everyone but the installer can tell that It Sucketh, Big Time:

Stucco building with Female and Male bathroom signs over two doors, and between those, a Handicapped sign over a shuttered window

Stucco building with Female and Male bathroom signs over two doors, and between those, a Handicapped sign over a shuttered window

Escalator with a wall neatly built right at the first moving step up/down

Escalator with a wall neatly built right at the first moving step up/down

A man in sandals demonstrates the futility of trying to climb up a concrete doorway ramp (marked with Handicapped emblem) that is at least a 30° angle upwards

A man in sandals demonstrates the futility of trying to climb up a concrete doorway ramp (marked with Handicapped emblem) that is at least a 30° angle upwards

And last but not least (just for grins), Teh Dumb from a hospital somewhere. I’m not fond of MRI machines from the comfort perspective, for all they can make great pictures. The last time I was in one, I wore ear plugs and they gave me the clam-shell headphones to help block out some of the noise. But I have hyperacussis and tinnitus, and 45 minutes later my head was ringing so badly, I slithered off the padded bench and crumpled to the floor.

Powerful MRI with metal hospital bed pulled off the floor and stuck to opening

Powerful MRI with metal hospital bed pulled off the floor and stuck to opening

6 Comments

  1. Greg said,

    17 August 2009 at 11:44

    great pics and post.. thanks

  2. 16 August 2009 at 18:23

    People started thinking about us but without our engagement such designs will come again and again. Congratulations for wonderful posting !

  3. 13 August 2009 at 2:10

    Thank you for mentioning MRI’s which are not only hell for sound sensative but cannot be elevated (not where I am) for those with Muscular Dystrophy, Autonomic Failure or rigged for people with seizure disorders, since doing a brain and spine MRI for 90-125 minutes is significantly similar but of greater length than and EEG to test for seizure activity which puts lights and some sound flashing at one (lasting only 45 minutes including hooking up and taking off the electrodes.

  4. Scott Rains said,

    12 August 2009 at 16:49

    Andrea,

    Great post! I will pass the URL round my network.

    Scott

  5. 9 August 2009 at 2:59

    I’m not great at eyeball estimates of sizes, distances, or angles, but off hand I’d say that ridiculous ramp (in the pic w/the guy in sandals) looks like maybe a good 45 degrees steep. If so, then that’d be well over 30 degrees!

  6. Catana said,

    8 August 2009 at 12:31

    Law of unintended consequences at work — the ramp-stairway in Vancouver looks like a total nightmare for the blind.


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