Continuing my photos to try to make a better place for those who have to live in it and don’t have the privilege of being on two good legs it’s time for White Oaks Mall. I swear I’m going to end up creating a series called “bathrooms good and bad” as well as “restaurants….do those in a chair really need to eat out?”. I have soo much material on both of these topics, but I’m getting off subject so…
We started outside by getting off the bus at the stop just outside the mall because we needed to go pick up a mouse from a strip plaza down the street.
The road at the corner where the mall is is not very nice for pedestrians but in particular for those in a chair.
There are a lot of potholes and the sides of the sidewalk can almost be like a cliff. I know I have problems with this corner a lot of the time…I wonder how my fellow “disabled” folks in particular those who are visually impaired handle things here?
At the top of the corner pictured here is what I’d like to call the “cliff face”.
The area right to the left with the worn path actually has a drop and it’s not insignificant in the least. I wouldn’t attempt it with wheels, and someone who can’t see this would have a really tough time of it, especially since the sidewalk veers to the right and actually goes on an angle down to the street. It’s a tricky spot.
Moving on towards my strip plaza, we passed by another plaza. There is one pedestrian entrance from Wellington…a set of stairs. I guess if you are like me in a wheeled contraption…you go down to the corner, up the side road. I get that the side there is steep, but I wish these places were more “walkable” or “wheelable” as the case might be.
We finally got to where we needed to go and I took the road ramp down because I could not see if the sidewalk actually led to a ramp from my position. On the way back I took the ramp..that picture is coming. The ramp/sidewalk to the store has a bit of a hump in it to get over, not sure if it’s a problem for those with reduced vision, but it’s a pain for a chair, since it required me to put on a bit of speed to get up it.
I think they extended the sidewalk or something because of the way it’s been done, but perhaps it will get smoothed out more in time.
Inside the store they had a RUBBER mat down. It had little grab piles of rubber on it, and when I drove over it, my wheels caught the mat and sucked it in. My husband was more concerned about getting the mat unstuck from the chair than taking a photo but it was pretty bad. I had to (lucky for me huh?) get out of my chair, so that it could be lifted up enough to pull the mat right out from under the chair, it was caught up in the drive wheel. I guess rubber + drive wheels = not such a good idea. They went back to a flat mat and rolled up the evil beast. (they said they had it down because of the rains).
After our visit it was time to head back to the mall, I managed to find the ramp for the sidewalk and decided to give it a try. The sidewalk angled steeply to the right. Not sure that the photo can do it justice but I had to readjust myself after getting off it, since I was literally glued to the right side of the chair by the shift.
It was a rather uncomfortable feeling being on this sidewalk.
We made it back across that nightmare street and decided to head in to the mall from Walmart. I have to say that the approach to Walmart is fantastic. Wide sidewalk, light standards NOT in the way, plenty of room to drive on and for others to get by. This is a center aisle sidewalk done RIGHT.
From the approach…..
down to the driveway (the hill’s a bit steep but not so bad). If you use a push chair you might have to hold tight if there is traffic.
To the main aisle.
Right to the end where the accessible parking is. It was a treat to get to the store without having to take the road.
White Oaks you’re getting there!
Inside the mall, we explored the food court, which does have at least 4 accessible tables. Sadly they don’t stand out from normal ones so it’s hard to find them, and sometimes they are taken by folks with strollers so I can’t use them at all. It’s a shame because the tables are very well suited to a chair. Wide enough so we can get to the table top and not get caught underneath. I’d love to see them be a bit higher, since we’re almost a foot higher in a power chair, but if they could contrast the color so that it’s easy to see where they are and so that others can see it is for those with need, then we’d be all golden.
We also visited the 3 accessible washrooms that we found there. I think they are some of the best I’ve seen to date as far as size and usefulness.
But…if you have visual impairment, you won’t be able to find any bathrooms, since the signs are NOT at the level they can be found, nor are you able to find them by tactile means since the only signs outside pointing to them are stand up cardboard ones. I hope this is just temporary.
I’m also not sure about the height of the toilet for transfers. It was a bit low, but fortunately I’m only partially disabled so I can get up and out, not sure about anyone else.
I’ll leave that for those who have to transfer to decide.
We opted to leave and try to get to Canadian Tire, which is just across the parking lot further south from the mall. It’s not too bad for the going, there are sidewalks, some a bit narrow but otherwise passable. It’s when you get to where the driveway intersects with the entrance lane, that things get a bit frustrating. Short sidewalks with steep grade ramps are not fun, I almost tipped returning to the mall because of the steepness and the pressure from cars to move faster made me forget the cardinal rule of taking the ramp straight on. Never will make that mistake again.
There is a small sidewalk that leads to the parking lot for Canadian Tire, I wasn’t sure if I could make it from my side so I continued to the corner. The way across from me looked like the picture below, problem was, the ramp sidewalk leads to no other ramps. I had to turn and go down onto the road and head up to Canadian Tire.
Alongside of the Canadian Tire greenhouse was a path where the paint was worn out, if it was sprayed back up to yellow stripes it would make a wonderful pathway for those on foot and those with mobility aids to attempt to keep the cars out.
All in all it wasn’t too bad out there, it’s by far my favorite when it comes to accessible bathrooms. The mall staff did tell me that they are working on their directional signs though, since the original was made of paper. I liked that it wasn’t reflective, but it wasn’t tactile either. I hope their new one will be, though I have my doubts since when I said something about it she seemed surprised at the idea.
Next up will be Argyle Mall.