Mapping the accessible city

Picture of a building on a street corner showing the steepness of the footpathWhere the local terrain is hilly, kerb ramps are not the only (or any) access issue. When the footpath grade is very steep and long, going up can be impossible, and going down can be dangerous. 

Josh Cohen writes an interesting article in Next City about a wheelchair user who has managed to find his way around a city built on steep terrain – Seattle. It tells the story of Steve Lewis and how he manages to navigate around the steepest parts of the city using elevators in public buildings and other cut-throughs. It shows how inventive wheelchair users can be. But what about visitors? How can they find out the best routes? It was from Steve’s experiences that the Access Map Seattle was developed. 

While many local councils in Australia have access maps that include access ramps and toilets etc., they may not always indicate the steepness of the terrain.This is a classic example of how the feedback from local people can bring about the best result using their problem solving experiences.