Monday, May 17, 2010

Access Issues

I brought Jane Little to church yesterday. Due to a long illness, she had not attended a service at St. Paul’s in over a year. (Happily, she has received communion a number of times from visitors from St. Paul’s, and she received the ministrations of an Episcopal priest, Jeff Murph, at UPMC St. Margaret, where he is chaplain.) Her illness has caused Jane to exchange her cane for a walker.

Assisting a person in Jane’s situation helps one appreciate the challenges architecture can present to those of us with handicaps. In this brief post, I want to offer a few observations from yesterday.

First, of course, our elevator is a blessing of incomparable worth. It would be helpful if the door to the parking lot nearest the elevator had an electric opener, however. I was there to open the door for Jane, but a handicapped person who could drive would have trouble opening the door while using a walker.

Jane reports that the door to the handicap rest room is very difficult to open, although she did manage to accomplish the task without help. Perhaps the door closer could be adjusted to make it easier to enter.

On the positive side, Jane found the rest room itself spacious and easy to use. She particularly appreciated the fact that, once inside, she had no other doors to manipulate.

Oh, and Jane loved being back worshiping at St. Paul’s.

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