Monday, December 15, 2014

They Did Hear Us.

In Nov 2012, I wrote that Penang State Museum And Art Gallery did not have wheelchair access (see link HERE), I am happy to say that it now has. I was told by one of their staff  that a ramp and an accessible toilet were added not long after my post was published. I wish to thank the authority for listening to the voice of disabled persons. I visited the place yesterday (Dec 14, 2014) and here is my short report.

The new and beautifully designed ramp is at the left side of the gallery compound. I like this ramp because it has a gentle slope, good width and non-slip floor. It also has a pair of well-designed handrails. It would be perfect if it has edge protection at both sides of the ramp. But as a whole it is still a safe ramp to use.

The photo below shows a ramp with edge protection. The purpose of edge protection is to prevent small front wheels of wheelchairs from slipping off the ramp.

I had no problem locating the accessible toilet. There were clear signages to indicate its location. The toilet is reasonably good and it is useable for most wheelchair users. I was surprised to see that the door opening inwards. But since the toilet is very big, I had no problem turning my wheelchair around to close the door.

The toilet bowl was correctly placed. There was enough space for people who use side transfers. (See this video if you want to know what is side transfer.) For more information about accessible toilet, please click HERE.

But I was disappointed to see that grab bars. They were not installed properly. Here is a drawing showing how grab bars should be installed. For more information about please click the link HERE.

After the visit, I concluded that although the Penang government wants to have more disabled access, the quality of access design is still lacking. Malaysian Standards have clear specifications for disabled access, but many designers are still unable to follow the standards correctly. There may be a need for the authority to organise more training sessions to help more people understand the subtleties and requirements of disabled access standards.

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