Architecture

March 1, 2009

I came across this place.

press to open

press to open

Well, this place has certainly made accommodations for customers with disabilities, right?

Let’s take a more critical look…

Disclaimer: I am not writing this post to pick on this store. It was just something I saw and it was one of the things that inspired me to start this blog. This was one of the first posts I started, but I’ve waited until now to post it.

Here is that button in context.

Button is on the left

Button is on the left

There is a space of over ten feet between the button and the door.

I hit this button and I found that the door stays open about ten seconds before closing. That would be long enough for me, but if I was in a wheelchair with quadriplegia, would that be enough time?

Especially since it isn’t a straight path in after hitting the button

dooropenstoward

you have to go around the door itself in order to go inside. (I also just now noticed how the shoplifting detectors make the doorway more narrow than the door itself.)

Since I’m piling on the criticism anyway, where do you suppose the curb-cut or ramp is to go into this store?

Did you guess right in front? Wrong!

Did you guess right in front? Wrong!

To orient you just a bit, the handicapped parking is just off the frame to the right.

The ramp onto the sidewalk is at that corner of the plaza you see off in the distance, or behind you in this photo at the end of the plaza. This one is closer, but it is still about 50 feet from the door and it— excuse me— sucks. It is just a mound of tar that evens off the corner. It would be possible to topple over on it. (Pictures of it don’t do it justice. I’ll try to capture one that demonstrates just how awkward it is shaped.)

So to safely enter this building in a wheelchair (without just climbing up over the curb or using the scary-ramp), one would need to…

  1. Park in the handicapped space.
  2. Go several hundred feet to the right of the building to the supermarket curbcut (or just park in the handicapped space at the supermarket).
  3. Come back those several hundred feet and go ten feet past the door to the button.
  4. Hit button.
  5. Maneuver around the outward-swinging door and through it in under ten seconds.

I’m sure this isn’t a problem in 99.99% of cases, but keep in mind that my whole career path has been about thinking about the 0.01% that are excluded from society by things like this.

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