Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thank You Gurney Paragon Mall For The Stairlift

I made a mistake in my Aug 12, 2013 post about Gurney Paragon Mall Penang (Part 2). (See link HERE). I overlooked the presence of a stairlift. Here is a video of the stairlift. (Link is HERE.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Access Alert : Gurney Plaza

If you are used to entering Gurney Plaza from Persiaran Gurney (Gurney Drive), please note that the ramp near the main entrance is no longer there. The information counter advised me to use the alternative ramp located next to Euro-Deli. Here are some photos that I hope will help you to locate that ramp.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Penaga Hotel

I really like the "lane garden" of Hotel Penaga. It was originally a side lane in between three blocks of old terrace houses. But the hotel did a wonderful job converting it into a small but lovely garden. I never expect a side lane can be made so beautiful until I visited this place. It is accessible, a bit bumpy for my wheelchair, but you should check it out if you have the opportunity.

My first impression of the hotel was not good (my first visit was more than a year ago, but this writing was based on my recent visit on Sept 30, 2013). The very steep ramp at the entrance gave me that first impression. But if you phone the hotel and tell them you are coming in a wheelchair, they will reserve a special car park right in front for you. They will also assist you to go up this steep ramp. So the service wasn't bad.

The passage way to the garden (see the arrows in the photo above) was originally the five foot way (kaki-lima) of the terrace houses that have become part the hotel. In the old days, "kaki-lima" were build in front of every terrace house to provide shelter from the tropical heat and the occasional tropical downpours.

The photo above is what you will see when you turn into the garden. You shouldn't stop there. You should go to the end of this pathway and turn right into the deeper end of the garden. The place is beautiful, shady even under mid-day sun.

If you enter the lobby of the hotel, you will see the counter shown in the above photo. Turn right if you want to go to their restaurant or the accessible toilet (located behind the lift). Yes, this small hotel has a lift!

The toilet is long and narrow. Expensively decorated. I found the lighting a bit too dim, (bad for people who has poor eyesight). It is also too narrow for wheelchair users who use "side transfer" method to go to the toilet bowl. (See photos above.)

The illustrations below explain the "side transfer" method and why wider space (not less than 600 mm) is needed beside the toilet bowl. For more details please got to my post about accessible toilet. The link is HERE.

The link to Penaga Hotel's website is HERE.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Everyday Supreme Restaurant (Tian Yi)

This restaurant is at Logan Road. The Chinese name is "Tian Yi". I suspect some people (including me) may not be aware of the English name. So if you are asking around for its location, please use both the Chinese and English names.

I like the entrance of this restaurant. It is one of the very few private buildings that has a ramp at the front door. (The other is Macalister Manson see link HERE). My wheelchair entered the wide door so smoothly that it amazed me. (See photo below.)

Once inside, I noticed that the tables were well spaced out and I had no problem reaching my table (Most restaurants in Penang tend to arrange the tables closely and I often had to ask other guests to shift their chairs closer to the tables to make way for my wheelchair.)

The accessible toilet is located at the far end of the restaurant. The two photos below will point you to the direction of the toilet.

I discovered that the door of the toilet opened inwards. This is very common in Penang. It reflected the general lack of understanding of Malaysian Standard for accessible design. Luckily the toilet was reasonably big and I was able to close the door with a little manipulation of my wheelchair. From the photos below, you can see that the toilet design was not really up to the standard as required.

The two drawings below show what a good accessible toilet design should look like (base on Malaysian Standards). For more details please go to the link HERE.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Penang Road Overhead Pedestrian Crossing

Just read from the press that the Penang road overhead pedestrian crossing will be made disabled friendly by next year. Credit should be given to the government.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dewan Sri Pinang

Dewan Sri Pinang is an important building in Penang. It is a popular auditorium for live performances. It also housed the Penang State Art Gallery. (Go to the end of this post if you want a link to more information about this building.) I was there to see an art show on 20 June, 2013 and took the opportunity to check the place.

An accessible car park was located at the roadside near to the building. As I moved my wheelchair in the direction of the art gallery, I noticed the walkway in front of me was not wheelchair friendly. (See photo below).

I had no choice but to move on the street, exposing myself to the danger of oncoming vehicles. As I moved further I discovered a kerb ramp. So I moved my wheelchair on to the walkway. (See photo below). It then occurred to me that the walkways along this stretch of the road were not consistent. Some have kerb ramps but some do not. I could not understand the logic behind this inconsistency.

After I reached the gate of the art gallery, I entered the compound without any problem.

I found a ramp in front of the entrance to the art gallery. But handrail was provided on only one side of the ramp. This is not a good practice. Handrails should always be provided on BOTH sides of a ramp. The reason is that many disabled people (non-wheelchair users) have only one strong arm. It could be the left arm or the right arm. Handrails at both sides will allow them to choose the one suitable to them.

I had problem entering the art gallery because of the step at the entrance. (See photo below). Once inside the space is all flat and wheelchair friendly.

The art gallery is located at the side of Dewan Sri Pinang. I had go to the front entrance of the building by a ramp. The ramp was a bit steep but luckily I was using my motorized wheelchair. It would be difficult for manual wheelchair users to climb this ramp. One can easily make the ramp gentler by extending it longer. (There were enough space). Handrails should also be installed.

I was surprised to see that Dewan Sri Pinang does not have accessible toilet. I had trouble trying to enter the ground floor male toilet because of the small step at the entrance.. (I did not have time to go to the first floor to see if there is any accessible toilet up there.)

The following photos were taken inside the toilet. (For more idea of what is a good accessible toilet, please click HERE.)

The auditorium is located at first floor. I could not find a lift to go up. There were two long ramps at either sides of the building that connect ground floor to first floor. But they were too long and too steep for any wheelchair users. 

Before I left, I took a photo of the ramps in front of the ground floor seminar rooms. These ramps were steep and unsuitable for wheelchairs. (See photo below.) 


Penang government often publicly announced that they are committed to improving disabled access. But what I saw in Dewan Sri Pinang made me feel that the commitment is still lacking. Georgetown cannot be a world-class city if it is not disabled friendly.

(More information about Dewan Sri Pinang can be found at

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Bad Walkway For Wheelchair

On 20 June 2013, I was checking the disabled access around Dewan Sri Pinang when I first saw this walkway. It had initially appeared  wheelchair friendly to me. I found the kerb ramp to be gentle and wide. (See Photo 1).  So I decided to check it out.

As I moved along the ramp, I quickly discovered that it was not as good as it had appeared to be

Firstly, I didn't like the drain cover. It could trap the small front wheel of a wheelchair. (See Photo 2).

Along the walkway, I found some trees (I like trees), that were wrongly positioned, thus making the walkway too narrow for my wheelchair. (See Photo 3).

At the end of this walkway, I could not find any kerb ramp to go down. Some wheelchair users may have to go all the way back to the start of the walkway and move on the street to avoid the hazard of going down at position 5. A walkway like this is no good to us at all. (See Photo 5 and Photo 5a which shows the side view of the kerb).

This walkway shows that wheelchair access is still lacking in Penang. (The map below indicates the locations of the photos taken. The numbers on the map correspond with the number of the photos) .