I have to admit, experiencing the past 10+ weeks as a "disabled" person has really opened my eyes. Getting around on crutches isn't easy, even when places are (supposedly) ADA (Title III) compliant. Especially in restaurants. My question is, does someone actually come out to the new building and CHECK to see if what has been designed really is usable?
For instance, there's a restaurant my hubby and I have gone to a few times - before my broken leg. I haven't really had any trouble there before, though I noted that the doors to the toilet stalls were rather heavy. Then, we went recently, with me on crutches. I remembered they had a handicap stall, so off I went to take care of the necessity....And ye gods!! I had to use some mighty fancy maneuvering, as well as really test my balance on my crutches, just to get INTO the stall! After business was done, I went to attempt to get OUT of the stall. And nearly got pushed off my feet.
Now those of you who know me know I'm not that little. I'm about 5'4" in shoes, and weigh over 130#...In trying to get out of that stall, I had to grab the lever, turn and pull on it with my right hand while bracing my left foot and crutch to grab all of the leverage weight. Then, once I had the door open, I had to let go of it and very quickly maneuver my right crutch up to brace the door open (supporting me AND the weight of the door). Then I had to scoot out of the stall, making sure my right crutch stayed in place so the door wouldn't slam into me....though it still slammed when I was finally out.
So I ask you - does anyone ever CHECK buildings for their ADA Title III compliance, or do they just check the architectural drawings to make sure there's enough clearance for a wheelchair? And what about those places that don't have wheelchair accessibility? Yes, people on crutches are a bit more mobile, but not by a lot. Steps, narrow aisles, heavy doors....yeah, so what if you have a grab-bar in the bathroom, if a person can't even get there it's rather pointless.