Just because Nova Scotia is oblivious to the needs of people in wheelchairs doesn't mean I have to tolerate life threatening ineptitude when I venture out. On Spring Garden
Road there are many inconveniences, but three would earn gold at the Olympics of bad design.
• Dresden Row Market
o The only ramped entrance, at 1535 Dresden Row, is an accident waiting to happen. The ramp rises about three feet in twelve, making it approximately three times the accepted standard slope. The home made apron is so poorly designed that it qualifies as a hazard on its own. Ascending the ramp puts the user at one end of a landing which is five feet wide. A wheelchair user must traverse the whole length of the narrow landing, minding the four foot drop inches away, and then execute a 180 degree turn to use the power door button. Exiting requires the reverse maneuver - open door with button, go the wrong way on the landing, wait for door, execute 180 in completely inadequate space, traverse landing. down the steep and narrow ramp for a blind exit onto the sidewalk.
o This configuration, which seems to pass muster with Halifax's fine building inspectors, is homicidal.
• Starbucks in the former Royal Bank
o Instead of modifying the front entrance, which is ideal for a ramp, this establishment was allowed to install a lift at the side entrance. They have a "Handicapped Access" sign at the front door, consolidating Halifax's high standing in the World Series of obsolete and offensive language.
o The lift, summoned by a bell, is located in a crowded lobby with a high traffic ATM machine. Like so many similar installations, it is deemed that a user is incapable of operating the lift, so the bell gets a distracted barista with a key. The bottom of the lift puts the small landing in a corner, where it is extremely difficult to maneuver. My wheelchair is average size, and it fills the space allowed completely. A scooter would not fit. The lift is cheaply made, banged me on the head with an arm that is supposed to protect me, is slow, and blocks a busy stairway. It was designed by chimps, purchased by ninnies, installed by incompetents and approved by Halifax's fine inspectors.
• The entrance to Park Lane Mall
o This classic of the Eyesore School of Architecture is merely a larger version of the Dresden Row entrance in the next block. The ramp is unacceptably long, the landing is dangerously narrow, the semi-accessible door is at the distant end of the landing, the doors are narrow and geometrically perverse, the timing is too short.
Do I take this personally? Am I offended? You bet. The owners of these establishments are treading on my Charter rights. Their enablers in government must be proud.
|James McG Stewart|