Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

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Curb Cut To Nowhere

There is an interesting curb cub on Massey University campus. It leads to a flight of stairs. There is no sidewalk that could be used. Just… A flight of steps.

Near the Whanganui river, there is a bridge, left-over from an attempt at settling the area. That’s all there is, it’s called “Bridge to Nowhere“. I can’t help thinking this curb cut is a bit pointless, just like the bridge. Of course, the bridge was there during settlement time, there were roads connecting to it, albeit small ones. It fell into disuse when the settlers just moved away out of the area.

This curb cut, however, is brand new, on an existing campus, and there is no sign that it could eventually be abandonned.

Photo showing the curb cut, the stairs and the surrounding area.

The road is significantly lower than the building’s level – nearly 2 meters. There is a lawn area around the building, with a sharp incline leading down to the road. A path was build from the building to the road, with steps. A few months ago, the steps area was redone, with a cement brick retaining wall on each side of the steps, and a curb cut onto the road.

There are no sidewalks by the road on either side of the stairs. While sidewalks would be safer for pedestrians currently forced to use the road, because of the retaining walls, putting sidewalks would be difficult at best.

So we end up with a curb cut leading to steps. Completely useless.

It almost seems to me to be a case of “let’s put a curb cut because the regulations call for them”. Mindless application of the standards, with little or no thinking. We need more thinking on these issues, less mindless implementation.

Selected Photos from Failblog

And for some comic relief, here are 3 photos from that show more lack of thinking in implementing accessibility.

Photo of curb cut where sidewalks end 1.5 meter from the curb cut.

Photo of “Wheelchair Foundation building with a huge flight of steps leading to it – with no ramp in sight.

Photo of a directional sign for the accessible toilets, pointing down a long flight of stairs.