Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Visual Inspiration: How to know if your toilet isn't ADA accessible

Step 1: is there at least 42" clear outside your stall door? No?

Step 2: Well, are there any grab bars inside your stall, and the stall is 60" wide by 56" deep?  Not so much?

Step 3: Exit the stall.  Are you sure there isn't a path that's at least 42" wide outside your stall?  Really?

Step 4: Can you turn on the water at the sink with the equivalent of a closed fist?

At least one of the sinks, anyway?

Step 5: Is the top of the sink surface at no more than 34" off the floor, and there's clear space under the sink, and the sink apron is no more than about 6" deep, and the pipes are protected from you hitting it with your knees in a wheelchair?

Hmm, then maybe you really do need to go to the toilet room marked "accessible" in this shopping center.  This toilet room definitely doesn't meet your needs.

I see separate accessible toilet rooms in a lot of retrofitted buildings, and while I appreciate the effort, it still creeps me out that if I have even the slightest disability, I have to go to a separate room.  ADA requires that persons with disabilities have an "equivalent experience" in places like zoos, aquariums, movie theaters, and even office buildings.  They can't not be able to use the space, but they have to be able to experience all the functions and educational content, entertainment experience, etc. from whatever limited spaces they can occupy.

But what that often means in retrofitted buildings is that people in wheelchairs get a entrance on the icky-shady side of the building, or even in back.  They get a weird separate toilet room that's not always near the other toilet rooms.  They still get to enter and operate the building, and they still get to go pee, but it's not quite the same.  Like sitting in a chair isn't enough difference already, they have to go to a different entry or floor or part of the building to get their most basic needs met.  It's almost like...separate but equal.


Lilylou said...

I appreciate your mentioning this concern in your posts, Pixie. Too many people seem oblivious to the needs of the disabled, forgetting that we are ALL likely to need that consideration someday ourselves.

Enginerd said...

your obsession with restrooms is unhealthy.

you need more wine.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Some of us prefer our privacy, and desire to have a room separate from all of the non-physically-, but usually mentally-handicapped individuals who seem to pee on every toilet seat! ;)