For people without a disability, it may be hard to fully grasp the importance of disabled access in the community or, how the lack of accessibility in various areas can gravely impact the lives of people with disability.
This can include such common things as; getting on and off public transport, maintaining a job, visiting public places, like gardens and parks and finding an accessible home to live in.
It can also include however small things like, mapping apps, that lack details on ramps, and dropped kerbs, lift doors that close quickly, pulling the door behind you when you’re in a wheelchair, noisy public venues that people with autism are sensitive too or even going to the movies with a hearing disability.
Things people without disability can often take for granted.
Hence why, disabled access is such an important aspect of designing and constructing buildings, transportation systems, and public spaces that enable people with disabilities to have equal access and participate in society.
But, how is Melbourne treading in this area for wheelchair users?
Whilst Melbourne is making significant strides towards becoming a more disabled access community for people with disabilities I can’t but help focus on the areas we can still improve on. I mean the more accessible we become the more people with disabilities get the same opportunity to live a normal life like everybody else.
One area where Melbourne could improve accessibility for wheelchair users is pedestrian crossings. While many crossings have been retrofitted with tactile indicators and audible signals, there are still some crossings that lack these features. Additionally, some crossings may not provide enough time for wheelchair users to cross safely, particularly those who require more time due to mobility issues. For example, I’ve encountered several crossings in the CBD where the green pedestrian signal is only active for a few seconds, making it challenging to cross the road safely in a wheelchair.
While Melbourne has made significant progress in improving disabled access on public transport, there are still some areas where further improvements could be made. For example, some tram stops do not have level boarding, making it difficult for wheelchair users to board the tram independently. Additionally, while many trains have designated wheelchair spaces, these spaces are often not clearly marked, and other passengers may occupy them without realising they are designated for wheelchair users.
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