|Re: accessibility||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Kate Adams (mseuphorworld.std.com)|
|Date: Fri, 10 Jul 1998 14:31:33 -0500|
Cornerstone's commonhouse and main buildings (as designed and permitted) are wheelchair accessable, and its townhouses are visitable (wheel up and first floor accessible bathrooms). This was a challenge since we have to build multiple floors to save real estate for setback and open space requirements and to have room for a common lawn, gardens, playground, etc. We undertook it because several of our members were chair users and others are headed in that direction. Most modifications were simple: 36" wide doors and adequate turning radii in halls, kitchens, and bathrooms. The group decided to put in an elevator, since we are talking about 3-4 floors with a garage below and all would use it regularly. There is still some debate over whether or not we should have a normal height commode in the commonhouse bathroom in addition to the accessible one, since the "accessible" one is way too high for children and small stature adults to use comfortably. It is very important to remember that accessability isn't just for feeble elders and chair users, it is for EVERYONE! You may be enabled now, but tomorrow you can get into a car accident, break your leg, require surgery, and otherwise become mobility impared no matter how young and in good shape you are. My husband severely broke his leg when I was eight months pregnant and threatened with bedrest due to complications. Our friends brought us meals and groceries and cleaned and prepped our house for the baby, since we were trapped in our apartment by the stairs. I also had to set up the bath with chairs and milk crates so that my husband could wash up without me having to lift him (190 lbs with a foot-to-hip cast) into the bathtub (expressly forbidden by my midwife). Two years prior, I had to lift him into the tub when he had a congenitally malformed heart valve replaced at age 31. One full member of our group broke her leg last winter and needed to have meals delivered to her third floor apartment and have people come up and walk her dog since she was shut in for a couple of weeks. Others have had mobility crises from time to time, or would like to move elderly parents into their units. When we joined cornerstone, no one needed to convince me of the necessity for an elevator and wide doorways and other simple changes. Now that I have two children, 5 mos and 2 years old, I am looking forward to easily hauling kids and groceries in a wagon from the parking garage, up the elevator, and to my unit through the wide doorways (instead of taking them one-by-one into the house, then getting the groceries while Nick does God knows what to his little brother Ian). As a modern parent, I don't know how people with strollers full of small people ever got out of the house or around the neighborhood or went shopping without ramps, wide doors, automatic doors, and numerous other "handicap" items. My only concern: children's security. At age 16 months my older son figured out that a wheelchair symbol meant that there was a door nearby that he could open (either by pressing a low-mounted red button or by a latch he could reach and use). Accessability truly is for everyone - babies too! Kate Adams Cornerstone Cohousing At 12:02 PM 7/10/98 -0500, Lynn Nadeau wrote: >Dear Paul, >Separately I'll send you copies of 14 answers I received when I posted a >similar query in April 1998. I found the responses very useful, both in >consciousness-raising and in the nitty-gritty of how much does it cost to >have an accessible upstairs. > >Here at RoseWind, in Port Townsend WA, we came to the following >conclusions: > >a) Anybody could become mobility impaired. To make it not a priority >means that you are deciding that every one of you would, if unable to do >stairs, feel ok about not being able to access the rooms which are on the >second floor. And that you'd be comfortable with that decision into the >future, as guests and future residents might also appear who can't do >stairs. >Which is a decision you might make, but we were not willing to do that. > Global Free Trade: All the economic benefits of colonialism, without all those nasty responsibilities.
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