Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Ramps of Doom

Think about this picture, they expect someone to use a ramp that steep without crashing into the sidewalk?

Yesterday, I tried going out to a stamp club, held at a local church, I collect stamps as a hobby, and was going to be new to this group. The churches in this community are a nightmare, it was like they were built to make things as hard on the old and disabled as possible.

Anyhow, I walk in, carry my three binders full of stamps, and the building is deceiving [knowing my mobility concerns, I GPSed it, and look at the satellite "street view", thinking, "Great it's a one story building, that is nice, I should be able to walk in easily. As you read this, keep in mind I weigh at least 500lbs, most people my size cannot even walk at all. It is a miracle I can.

I realize the club meeting isn't on the main floor, and see this weird ramp, off to the side, I think ok, there is no railing, just hold on to the wall, because it goes down at an angle and you'll make it, and I go down it, and realize that 50 foot flight down, is just the teaser, coming to the end of that hallway and I see this weird crazy twisting ramp, with no railing, that goes down what is equivalent to 4 flights of stairs but a ramp replaces where the flights of stairs would be. For some reason this church seems to have a down stairs room that is so far underground it's like they built the place as a bunker. It is a mainline church so seeing this room tucked away 2 stories under ground was just weird.

I instantly thought "My goodness, I probably can do the distance down--clinging to the side of the wall hoping for the best--but there is no way, I'll ever get back up that thing considering the distance and steepness. It was heartbreaking to know another activity was blocked to me due to the combination of my body, bad 60s architecture, and healthy people who have no sympathy or empathy for the disabled. How on earth could this church expect anyone over 70 with a heart condition or on a walker to even make this journey?

I was guessing that they had meals and other meetings down there, in their underground room. I usually don't do this but I wrote a complaint letter and asked if the group ever met upstairs. This is now club or group #4 in this area, I am blocked from due to inaccessibility. No one who is disabled should move to my area, it is one of the worse I've seen. A person in a wheelchair here, would never make it, except in one art center and in the hospital.

They build these ramps of doom, looking like they are obeying ADA, but really anyone in a wheelchair could have never used this thing [the turns were too tight, and the walls too narrow-and it just put a huge burden on the otherwise disabled. You get these thin and normal people who in their lack of empathy, don't even think out the logistics. How on earth can these people expect even 80 year old folks to walk down a steep ramp with no railings? [and get back up]? Don't they realize if the ramp is too steep, your scooter or wheelchair can severely injure you?

One friend told me I shouldn't even have taken the risk walking down the short portion without a railing, she says a fall could put you in the nursing home. This is true.

Just so people know I own a scooter, its pretty useless since I don't own a car lift and husband used to lift it into car, but now is too weak to do so. I would have been scared to death to use even my old giant scooter on this twisty turn, steep ramp of doom.

One disability website mentions "intentional failure of ramps" [I don't do stairs comfortably, and cant go up entire flights of them, those "zipper ramps" look more dangerous then not.

It over all was a disappointing experience. I feel like this community is not right for me in so many ways, but I'll leave that for another blog entry.

1 comment:

  1. Update on this one, the pastor of the church admitted they regretted building this ramp instead of installing a more expensive elevator, and that others have had problems with it. He is working with me now, which is good.