Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Walkway at Jalan Ria, Penang

The pedestrian walkway at Jalan Ria is not accessible to wheelchair users. I discovered that two days ago. My good friend, Li Fang, was trying to move from KOMTAR Walk to KOMTAR bus station but was stopped at walkway by a row of bollards.

She had no choice but to try the road. But again she was stopped by another row of bollards.

Luckily some kind-hearted people were around and they helped her unscrew one of the bollards.

So Li Fang had to use the road, exposing herself to the dangerous fast moving traffic, while other non-disabled people walked safely on the walkway. 

The rights of the disabled people are still not being respected in Penang.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Padang Kota Lama Food Court

A US business publication picked Georgetown as a great place for foreigners to retire in. (Visit link HERE). But I am not sure if the publication considered disabled access as one of the criteria. Personally I think some the older retired foreigners may need some form of disabled access and that is still lacking in Penang.

A good example is the Padang Kota Lama food court. It is located at Penang Esplanade, a famous tourist spot and next to the Cenotaph (visit link HERE), an important landmark of Penang. (For more information about Penang Esplanade please visit link HERE).

When I visited it on June 20th, 2013, I discovered that I was unable to enter the place. The entrance to the food court has some bars. These bars were there to stop motorcycles from entering the food court, but that also denied wheelchair users from entering the place. 

These bars are common in many public places in Penang. Many walkways, open fields and even entrance to apartments were made inaccessible by these bars. Here are some examples.

Solution to this type of problems is already there. In 2009, the local authority of Georgetown,  funded a test project to built a "wheelchair gate" --- a simple structure that allows wheelchairs to get through a passage but not a motorcycles. It is best illustrated in the video below. 

The project was successful and I was hoping that more "wheelchair gates" would be built at various strategic places in Penang. But due to reasons unknown to me, I have not notice any new one since.

For the benefits of the disable, the elderly, mothers with prams and also foreigners with mobility impairment, a "wheelchair gate" should be installed at Padang Kota Lama food court.