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Arlington, VA -- The Most Handicapped Unaccessible City ?

Jeff

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OK, so I've really taken to heart handicapped accessibility issues recently due to the fact that I now have to push a coach around everywhere I go.

This last weekend I had the opportunity to stay in Arlington, VA in the Crystal City section. I didn't run across anyone in wheelchairs because they must know better than to go here. Handicap ramps at intersections were rare, the Metro utilizes escalators to get downstairs, with elevators at select stops, and the underground concourse thingie had steps up or down every 100 yards with no ramps.

An absolute nightmare for me to get around with the coach, I couldn't imagine what its like in a wheelchair.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
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curbs are no problem, upgrade the motor and gears, throw on some over sized noby tires and you got yourself an ATW (All Terain Wheelchair.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
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The whole metro area is horrible for people with disabilities but this seems better than some of the more rural areas.

There ARE elevators in the metro but you have to know where to look for the signage. :-(
 

Jeff

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PlannerGirl said:


There ARE elevators in the metro but you have to know where to look for the signage. :-(
When we got on the Metro at Arlington Cemetary after the race yesterday we took the elevator (only 1) down, problem was we were on the wrong side of the tracks. So I had to carry the coach up the escalator.

Doh!
 

Duke Of Dystopia

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Most handicap accessible features could be added with very subtle detail changes in new construction with little cost elevation.

The real problem is incorporating them into previous constructed environments built with no thought of handicap navigation.

Little details like using lever handles rather than door knobs would go a long way toward helping. Well placed curb cuts would help bikers as well as handicapped pedestrians. Ramps instead of one or two stairs. Stuff like that.

What do you mean by "coach", like a baby carriage?
 

Cirrus

Cyburbian
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303
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Crystal City? Ew. There are better reasons than handicap inaccessibility to stay away from there. Is there a worse example of large scale modernism this side of Chandigar?
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
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Is it really that bad. I really thought it was neat there, except for the whole lack of ramps everywhere. Then again, I was only there one day for the marathon, what do I know?
 

Otis

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Mike D. said:
Is it really that bad. I really thought it was neat there, except for the whole lack of ramps everywhere. Then again, I was only there one day for the marathon, what do I know?
I worked there for a couple of years. It really is that bad.
 

Elisabeth

Cyburbian
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157
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Having lived in DC for the past 4 years, it's been my observation that they're trying to make the Metro (subway) more handicap accessible and also expanding the metro with more stops. As someone already pointed out, there are elevators, but they're broken a lot of the time. Bottom line, DC is a mess in more ways then one (I could go on about the roads and infrastructure forever), but I can't wait to be back there this weekend for Homecoming!
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
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Mike D. said:
An absolute nightmare for me to get around with the coach, I couldn't imagine what its like in a wheelchair.
And some disabled people don't need wheelchairs, but need the elevators just as well because these individials have mobility limitations. My brother, because of a quasi-stroke six years ago, has no movement in his right arm and about 75% in his right leg. He can climb stairs all right, but for him, when it comes to stairs that allow both up and down traffic, we Americans tend to follow our driving habits - stay to the right. Not good for my brother who can't use his right arm. So, the natural instinct is to move to the left so his good arm can grab the hand rail. Not good! First, there may not be a hand rail, and he needs that to pull himself up, and second, because he is now on the left, he has all this opposing foot traffic in front of him. He avoids stairs all-together now.

Arlington is probably not the Most Handicapped Unaccessible City. Little things, like placement of handrails and our cultural habits, do matter just as much as elevators and wheelchair ramps.
 

The Irish One

Member
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I couldn't imagine what its like in a wheelchair.
Need more time, more complaining and things will get done. Send a letter to someone that counts, let them know the problem. I've worked with DD population for a long time and when I find a situation that's just BS I call the city engineer and leave a message for some local reps and advocates write a letter on behalf of the people I was pushing. Public spaces and small bizness are complicated -but big business knows better by now or they should. Every little bit helps out.
 

Trail Nazi

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Mike D. said:
When we got on the Metro at Arlington Cemetary after the race yesterday we took the elevator (only 1) down, problem was we were on the wrong side of the tracks. So I had to carry the coach up the escalator.

Doh!
We did a similar thing a few weeks ago on the metro w/our coach system. What a p.i.t.a.!

It is amazing what you notice when you are doing the stroller thing and how there is a lack of curb cuts or shall I say a logic to the curb cut locations among other things. I really noticed it a few years ago when I broke my foot and had to walk on crutches. Although planners and engineers are now putting in the ADA things, we are not as sensitive to a handicapped person's needs as we should be or for strollers either. We could change the world with our new view.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
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Trail Nazi said:
Although planners and engineers are now putting in the ADA things, we are not as sensitive to a handicapped person's needs as we should be or for strollers either.
This is a thread about handicap accessibility issues. Perhaps you should start a new thread on how difficult it is to push babies around in a stroller. Stroller mobility and the mobility of the disabled are two very different issues.
 

Jeff

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No they are not. Push a stroller around for a day and you can only begin to understand handicap issues.

Pushing a stroller is a nice wake up call for all designers and should be required "reading."
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
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Mike D. said:
No they are not. Push a stroller around for a day and you can only begin to understand handicap issues.
Yes they are. Disabilities can be permanent. Just ask my brother. Pushing a stroller is only temporary.
 

biscuit

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Wanigas? said:
Yes they are. Disabilities can be permanent. Just ask my brother. Pushing a stroller is only temporary.
Well obviously pushing a strollers is a stretch from actually being disabled. However, I think that Mike D's point is about accessibility and I think it's a very valid one. The ease of use of strollers require the same ramps, elevators and curb cuts as are necessary for basic wheelchair use. So it makes sense that designers would be more empathetic to the accessibility needs of the disabled, like your brother, if they had to push around a loaded stroller for a while.
 

Wannaplan?

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biscuit said:
However, I think that Mike D's point is about accessibility and I think it's a very valid one. The ease of use of strollers require the same ramps, elevators and curb cuts as are necessary for basic wheelchair use. So it makes sense that designers would be more empathetic to the accessibility needs of the disabled, like your brother, if they had to push around a loaded stroller for a while.
I beg to differ.

Not all disabilities are the same. They are varied and affect different people in different ways. On the other hand, a stroller is a stroller is a stroller. In terms of design solutions for folks pushing strollers, there are some rather straightforward design moves to make life easier for them. But for the disabled, the design solutions oftentimes require creative, complex, and insightful moves. This is a much more complex process.

Yes, the issues are similar, but in the end, they are two entirely different beasts.
 

Plannerbabs

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Not to skew things even further, but not all disabilities are mobility-related. Those with vision problems often have problems with curbs and ramps because there is no tactile or visual contrast; the paving material is the same all around. Rails for stairs sometimes end before the stairs do, and since the rails are clues for the length of the stairs, that also poses problems. And those chirping things for crosswalks sometimes sound the same; when you've become more accustomed to listen for traffic, electronic tweeties can really be disorienting. So, just to toss those ideas out--perhaps a universal ease-of-use policy that covered mobility, motor skills, vision difficulties, etc...I know the policies are out there, I just haven't seen them implemented to any great degree.
 

Jeff

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Forget it.

I'm taking all the friggin handicap ramps out fo the job I'm working on. Screw them, they can use the driveway curb cuts.

Oh, you want a ramp next to those steps? Screw you pal, ain't happenin here.

*Just kidding of course*

Obviously pushing a stroller can never simulate being disabled, but can anything? You're picking the fight with the wrong person buddy, I'm probably one of the most ADA sensitive designers you'll ever come across and I take shit for it all the time because I insist on putting 2 curb cuts at every corner, not just the one that sends you flying into the middle of the intersection.

Regards,

Mike D
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
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Mike D. said:
You're picking the fight with the wrong person buddy, I'm probably one of the most ADA sensitive designers you'll ever come across and I take shit for it all the time because I insist on putting 2 curb cuts at every corner, not just the one that sends you flying into the middle of the intersection.
Let's take this up again, but how about we make it civil? You know, not taking things personally and going forward on a conversation that is about a worthwhile subject.

First, the theme of this thread is about a handicapped unaccessible city, so let's presume we're having a conversation accessibility for the disabled in urban areas. You assert that you are one of the most ADA sensitive designers out there. I can't dispute that, so let's keep on track and discuss this idea further.

I guess I'll start by asking, just to get the conversation re-started, What are the neccessary components of an ADA-sensitive urban area?
 

Trail Nazi

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Wanigas? said:
This is a thread about handicap accessibility issues. Perhaps you should start a new thread on how difficult it is to push babies around in a stroller. Stroller mobility and the mobility of the disabled are two very different issues.
So sorry that I seemed to have picked up on the fact that the thread starter -Mike D - made a correlation between handicap mobility issues and pushing a stroller. They both have wheels, it is a similar concept, it makes you more aware of other people's mobility issues. You agrue that pushing a stroller is only temporary, but some are some handicap issues that are also temporary. For example, a person can break his/her leg, s/he may require a temporary handicapped parking space and need to access those curb cuts as well. I have known of disability councils that make some of their non-handicapped people/volunteers use a wheel chair to help them gain insight into a handicapped person's perspective. Regardless of how a person gains insight into a mobility issue is irrelevant, it is still beneficial to us a planners.
 

Wannaplan?

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Trail Nazi said:
Regardless of how a person gains insight into a mobility issue is irrelevant, it is still beneficial to us a planners.
This is true and I agree with you. But pushing a stroller around town is not the same as using your hands to move your wheels on your wheelchair. And pushing someone that is in a wheelchair through town is not the same as pushing a stroller. Weight is one issue, as is the size of the chair. Obviously pushing a stroller around town does give you insight to what some of the handicapped-accesible issues are. But as a professional planner or ADA-sensitive designer, I wouldn't use the baby-pushing experience as a substitute to gain true insight to what it's really like to be disabled and trying to move through town.
 
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