Workshops

Speed breakers and street lights: Barriers to #MyAccess

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On December 3rd, #MyAccess celebrated International Day of Persons with Disabilities with a safety walk at Bandra Reclamation in partnership with ADAPT (Able Disable All People Together).We started our day with introductions to acquaint participants which included women with cerebral palsy and students from Wilson College.

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This time, we walked with women and girls with cerebral palsy, who were in wheelchairs. We formed two groups and walked in opposite directions into the bylanes of Bandra Reclamation.

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Participants identified the following issues in the area:
• Speed-breakers were inaccessible for the wheelchair users
• Uneven roads caused barriers for movement of wheelchairs and canes
• Pavements were blocked with construction material, vendors and parked vehicles
• Open garbage hindered their movement
• There were no ramps on the pavement for wheelchairs to move on. If present, they were only available on one end. So, even if a wheelchair-bound person could move on the pavement, there was no ramp to come back down on the road
• Streetlights were broken and not functional

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The participants also reported being stared at in the area. They said that the lanes were quite crowded. This led to a feeling of discomfort and lack of safety, so most said they would not want to take these lanes at night due to both accessibility and safety issues.

However, participants also reported positives such as policemen helping them cross the road by stopping passing cards. They also said that seeing them, some drivers automatically stopped to give way.

Here’s what the participants suggested to make the roads more accessible:
• Wider, smoother and cleaner roads
• Functional street lights
• Ramps on pavement
• Removing obstacles from pavements and roads
• Creating parking spaces for vehicles to keep the road open for movement
• Traffic lights that can be controlled by passersby

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To end the day, we all moved to the open amphitheatre at Carter Road for an event celebrating the lives of the disabled. Coming up tomorrow: findings from our safety audit at Sion.

Check out day 1, day 2day 4 and day 5 of the #MyAccess safety and accessibility walk too.

About the author

Arpita Bhagat

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