Wheelchair Access

25 posts in this topic

About a week ago I became a pilot/guide/carer for a temporary wheelchair user.

 

I was amazed to discover how wheelchair hostile many public facilities in Germany are.  For example, leaving the local hospital involved a negotiating a steep, twenty metre downward slope over two significant ridges and a high kerb.  The local doctor's surgery was just as bad:  A steep ramp "protected" by a ten centimetre kerb, with a four or five centimetre ridge at the top.  Fortunately, in our case, it was a big, strong man ferrying a smaller lady.  If I had been the invalid and she had been the pilot I shudder to think what might have happened!

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not been in the situation, but I have noticed that a lot of places seem to be very poor.

 

When my daughter was still in pushchair/pram, then I became more aware of the situation and was surprised how often you simply have to carry it up some stairs because there is no other option.

 

Even places which have facilities are often bad.  At Frankfurt airport we had to walk 2 - 3 times further than if we had no buggy, had to take something like 6 lifts to get from the train platforms to the T2 check-in desks.  The lifts are often so small that you can only fit 1 buggy with 1 or 2 people squeezed in.  With luggage we often had to take the lift separately!  And they are too often used by people who don't need to use them at all and are just lazy.  When the airport is fully of escalators then it really is poor.

 

So I sympathise fully with people who find themselves in this situation.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My brother in law is wheelchair bound and they came to visit us last year.  Germany was their entry point and I knew there are limitations because we have kids and we used to go around with them in their prams.   If you think Germany is bad, other places in Europe are horrible.   At least here in Berlin plenty of train stations have lifts, yes, sometimes you have to go a longer way, the lift is small, etc, but there is one and it usually works.   We went all together to Paris and it was really really bad.  We couldn't believe how bad it is.  Almost no station has a lift, you have to take plenty of stairs/escalators to make a connection through deep dungeons.   After researching a bit we found that most people on wheelchairs move around only by bus because they have no other choice and because of this their mobility is pretty limited.

 

Yes, there are tons of things to improve here, but it could be much worse.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Bavaria Seehofer introduced a law requiring all public buildings to be made wheelchair-friendly. Which sometimes is over the top. E. g. in the small town I used to live in (Arnstein) the mayor´s hall isn´t accessible by wheelchair. Even though the 3 disabled people living in that town all said they don´t need it to be made accessible because if they need something the staff will visit them at their homes the works are in progress as I´m writing. Wasting € 800000.-

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, jeba said:

In Bavaria Seehofer introduced a law requiring all public buildings to be made wheelchair-friendly. Which sometimes is over the top. E. g. in the small town I used to live in (Arnstein) the mayor´s hall isn´t accessible by wheelchair. Even though the 3 disabled people living in that town all said they don´t need it to be made accessible because if they need something the staff will visit them at their homes the works are in progress as I´m writing. Wasting € 800000.-

2 years ago I broke my leg and became disabled for 3 months. I really appreciated the infrastructure for disabled people in Germany (there was no one to drive me around, I used buses and trains). You think you don't need it and nothing will ever happen to you? Well, good luck with this mentality.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

You think you don't need it and nothing will ever happen to you? Well, good luck with this mentality.

I never said this. What I´m saying is that it would be good enough for me if the staff of the mayor´s hall would come to my place instead of money being wasted on building obscenely expensive wheelchair access.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Handy though if the mayor or any of the other people working there need wheelchairs.  Rather than just have to sit at home.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

Handy though if the mayor or any of the other people working there need wheelchairs.  Rather than just have to sit at home.

True. But is it worth € 800000.-? In a small town with 8000 inhabitants? That money could have been put to better use. E. g. upgrading public transport so that you don´t have to order the Rufbus a day in advance (on weekends).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dj_jay_smith said:

... And they are too often used by people who don't need to use them at all and are just lazy...

I am interested as to how you reach this conclusion about your fellow lift-users. I can march around with the best of them with my wheelie suitcase on level ground, but when my gammy knee is playing up the stairs and escalators become an impossibility. My mother-in-law with her heart condition also looked perfectly fit but struggled with stairs and escalators. Since lifts are often tucked away in odd corners I might have thought the lazy travellers are the least likely to seek them out.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Prosie said:

I am interested as to how you reach this conclusion about your fellow lift-users. I can march around with the best of them with my wheelie suitcase on level ground, but when my gammy knee is playing up the stairs and escalators become an impossibility. My mother-in-law with her heart condition also looked perfectly fit but struggled with stairs and escalators. Since lifts are often tucked away in odd corners I might have thought the lazy travellers are the least likely to seek them out.

 

Because most of them will walk away and then use the escalator/stairs when they then see you with a pushchair/buggy. In many places wheelchair & buggy users get priority for lifts, so even if there is a queue you can jump to the front. 

 

I admit that bad design of areas does not help.  If you arrive on the Skyline in T2 at Frankfurt airport (from T1) the platform is narrow, there is a single narrow, slow escalator, and half way down you have to change.  So even with luggage it is a struggle for some.  And when the transit arrives, there is a big queue for the escalator.  So some try to take the lift instead, and when you turn up with a buggy then change their minds!  As the lift is also very slow.

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I pushed my kids around in a pram, adding to the annoyance of unfriendly infrastructure was inconsiderate parking. Really annoying.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, pmd said:

When I pushed my kids around in a pram, adding to the annoyance of unfriendly infrastructure was inconsiderate parking. Really annoying.

 

 

What really pisses me off are the people who park in the "Eltern Kind" parking who have no child!  Or think that an empty child seat is enough!

 

I even confronted one guy about this around a month ago and he didn't give a toss.  

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, dj_jay_smith said:

Behause most of them will walk away and then use the escalator/stairs when they then see you with a pushchair/buggy. In many places wheelchair & buggy users get priority for lifts, so even if there is a queue you can jump to the front. 

 

I have noticed however an increasing tendency in that  when there is a family group with a child in a buggy, then the whole family will wait to get into a small crowded lift even if the lift queue is very busy. Especially so at public transport hubs where luggage, bikes, disabilities, other buggies and simple old age can lead to a big backlog in a confined space. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Kommentarlos said:

 

I have noticed however an increasing tendency in that  when there is a family group with a child in a buggy, then the whole family will wait to get into a small crowded lift even if the lift queue is very busy. Especially so at public transport hubs where luggage, bikes, disabilities, other buggies and simple old age can lead to a big backlog in a confined space. 

 

 

No you see, even if I had luggage I would often take the escalator and let my wife take the buggy in the lift if there was a queue.  

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Kommentarlos said:

 

I have noticed however an increasing tendency in that  when there is a family group with a child in a buggy, then the whole family will wait to get into a small crowded lift even if the lift queue is very busy. Especially so at public transport hubs where luggage, bikes, disabilities, other buggies and simple old age can lead to a big backlog in a confined space. 

 

This is sometimes because the lift and the stairs are not there at the same place, it is not an A-B trip with 2 pathways.  So if you are not familiar with the station the easiest thing is to take the lift together.  If you are familiar with the station then you can easily agree a meeting point to rejoin.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, dj_jay_smith said:

 

No you see, even if I had luggage I would often take the escalator and let my wife take the buggy in the lift if there was a queue.  

 

That is what I would expect too. But I am seeing (and walking around) with increasing frequency family groups with no luggage or shopping bags waiting with the buggy person for the lift. 5-6 people. I have no idea what that is about.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Krieg said:

 

This is sometimes because the lift and the stairs are not there at the same place, it is not an A-B trip with 2 pathways.  So if you are not familiar with the station the easiest thing is to take the lift together.  If you are familiar with the station then you can easily agree a meeting point to rejoin.

 

Yes. Absolutely. But it is often not the case. And also not with small children and elderly family members who could get lost more easily.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For super crappy wheelchair access I would like to nominate the S Bahn platform at Berlin HBH. Why do they have the ticket machines at exactly the point at the top of the escalater creating less platform space and a shocking bottle neck? I struggle to get by and I can make eye contact. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Krieg said:

 

This is sometimes because the lift and the stairs are not there at the same place, it is not an A-B trip with 2 pathways.  ..

 

 

19 minutes ago, Kommentarlos said:

For super crappy wheelchair access I would like to nominate the S Bahn platform at Berlin HBH. Why do they have the ticket machines at exactly the point at the top of the escalater creating less platform space and a shocking bottle neck? I struggle to get by and I can make eye contact. 

 

Both points come back to my point before that often the design of such places does not help.

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No GDA?

Among other things, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures access to the built environment for people with disabilities. The ADA Standards establish design requirements for the construction and alteration of facilities subject to the law.   This includes all government buildings and structures.  Almost all sidewalk intersections in downtown Chicago (and elsewhere) have sloping pavements down to a zero curb.  All new and refurbished restaurant bathrooms must be ADA compliant (wheelchair accessible).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now