Open garbage and uneven roads: Barriers to #MyAccess
The third day was a special one since December the 3rd also marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We had around 10 participants from ADAPT (Able Disable All People Together) and 20 participants from Wilson and a few from Sophia College. Since there were more college students, we assigned two to each ADAPT Participant. After the orientation, two groups went in opposite directions in the by-lanes of K C Marg (Bandra Reclamation). Unlike the previous days, we were looking at accessibility in terms of women in wheelchairs and on crutches. Issues brought to the front were that footpaths and wheelchairs were not accessible to wheelchair users (no ramps to get on the footpaths). Footpaths were also obstructed by garbage, construction materials, vendors and parked vehicles. Uneven roads also made it difficult to manoeuvre a wheelchair. In terms of safety, participants mentioned broken lights and crowded areas. Many said that they wouldn’t travel by these lanes alone, or at night.
Bandra Reclamation (left)
Given that this route, as mentioned before, was examined especially in terms of wheelchair accessibility, it was found that the footpaths had no ramps (or had ramps only on one side) and were not an option at all. The roads were uneven, and potholes and speed breakers made it very difficult to travel on. Crossing the road on a wheelchair was seen a difficult task, and many had to take special assistance from the traffic police. Obstacles were in the form of garbage (which can get stuck in the wheels), pavement blocks and parked cars. It was also observed that there were not enough street lamps in the area.
Bandra Reclamation (right)
Similarly here, the footpath had no ramp and was too narrow to fit a wheelchair. There was no option but to use the road, which was uneven and full of potholes. The obstacles were in the form of piles of stones, garbage, parked cars, speed breakers and tree branches. The participants noted the need for more street lights, especially in the inner roads. as the distance between two were to much and many were covered by the trees. The participants also faced difficulty while crossing the road, and some mentioned the need for special pedestrian traffic lights for wheelchair users.