To know Blue Copper Design is to know our mission to create a more accessible and beautiful world. As we were making our goals for the year, we decided to tackle one that has been on our minds for a while.
Way too often we are told stories of inaccessible restaurants, bathrooms, and other public spaces. We hear the frustration in our peer's voices because usually it is just one super easy thing that needs to be changed to make a space accessible. Sometimes the table placement in a restaurant needs to be changed, or the door hinges to the accessible bathroom stall are installed backwards, or the curb cut to the sidewalk is too steep or not there at all. All things that are in the guidelines of the ADA but too often get overlooked because they are never brought to anyones attention.
When we hear people's frustration and impact from the lack of accessibility, our best advice has been to talk to the building managers directly and explain how this issue affects you. Most people dont know the perspective of disability and some of the issues come from ignorance and not maliciousness. If they only knew the situation, most people would be willing to help and be eager to make the changes necessary.
Now some people might be insensitive to the inaccessibility and then we can bring in the lawyers and the courts, but that is a different story. Let's give people the benefit of the doubt first.
To be honest we have slacked on our own advice here. Just recently I went to a public restaurant bathroom that I have been to before and the door hinges were on the wrong way. This made it so I couldn't close the door to the bathroom stall because my wheelchair wasn't able to maneuver in a way to give the clearance. Such a simple mistake with a great impact. As I was there said to myself "wait you have been here before and did not reach out to anyone! If you have this problem others must as well.". So this year is the year we will be diligent about building our list and reaching out to the appropriate people to make these big little changes for our community.
So, how can you help us with this? We encourage others to create their own lists of inaccessible places so they can reach out the appropriate people to start change and make their communities more accessible. Educate the people in your community on ADA Laws and be the enforcer in your life for the change you need to see. Complain to the right people and make a space better for yourself and others. We encourage people with or without disabilities to call out what they see to be inaccessible because the impact of making spaces accessible to all people is great.
If you are needing assistance in contacting the right people about specific inaccessible spaces we are here to help! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story and what you would like to see done and we will give our best guidance.