Monday, October 24, 2011
Poorly-designed toilet rooms make me sad. I'm sad because it's a waste of resources and building materials. I'm also sad because a poorly-designed toilet makes difficult for some of us the most basic and private of functions: going to the bathroom. Below is yet another example of an improperly-designed/built toilet room (photos taken at a gas station toilet room outside Estes Park, CO). Comments are below each photo.
Over and over, I see the same error: add some grab bars and the toilet room is now "accessible". There's nothing farther from the truth. Making a toilet room ADA compliant involves a series of space and fixture layouts and dimensions of various accessories in relation to each other and to the floor. The above shot shows some of these problems: the toilet paper dispenser is way too high above the grab bar, and the sink is located within the required clear space of the toilet. Also, the seat cover dispenser is way too high and it's above the toilet--both are no-no's. Further, the trashcan (albeit movable) is located within the toilet's clearspace. If you come in here in a wheelchair, pray you can roll up and hoist thyself onto the throne.
Here's the door from inside the toilet. The pull on the door is okay--it doesn't require grabbing, twisting, or pinching--but there's a metal box of some sort that seems to be in the way of the required 18" clear space on the pull side of the door. But what about that little locking mechanism above the pull handle? Well, it does require grasping, pinching, and twisting, which is not ADA compliant.
Mom is standing by the door to make another point about the door lock. Mom is 5'-4.5", so the door lock is maybe 8"-9" below Mom's head, making it about 56" above the floor. Unobstructed forward reach for someone in a wheelchair is 15"-48" above the floor, which means that not only is this door lock hard to operate if your hands are incapacitated in some way, but you'll have a tough row to hoe in your in a wheelchair and you pop in here for a quick dooky.