Friday, 1 May 2015

Dis/Ablism in Benalmádena: photo-doc for #BADD2015

I have taken dozens and dozens of photographs of good, poor and really bad practice in enabling equal access to the streets and facilities of Benalmádena in Andalusia. In the thirteen years I have been a visitor, I have seen major changes. Nonetheless, awareness of disability issues is still rather woeful. Some of the photographs are great examples of how-to or how-not-to. Instead of posting all my photographs, I have decided to demonstrate a circular route from the main taxi-rank on the Avenida de las Palmeras to the health-centre serving the area, where anyone who needed non-emergency medical help would have to attend. Then I crossed over the main road and walked back snapping as I went.

Not all the images are labelled: so my apologies to the visually impaired. I am currently travelling and only have intermittent internet connection. I expect to have described all the pictures by the end of the month.

A pharmacy with lots of space out front, lots of steps, but no ramp or lift.

Just about wide enough for a wheelchair to pass, but no margin for error as that is a rather high kerb (curb).

Look out for raised iron-works - a constant threat.

A sensory dropped kerb to the pedestrian-crossing.

A soon-to-be mini-supermarket has already installed a ramp with dual hand-rail.

The above and following photos demonstrate how important it is to restrict street-furniture and advertising-hoardings as well as situating the stops far enough forwards/backwards so that wheelchairs can comfortably pass.

Sensory surface leading to crossing-point.

Alas the path on the opposite side is too narrow for a wheelchair, and just wait for the ironworks and litter-bin on the corner (below)!

Much of this route has trees and lamp-posts and signage placed in the centre of the pavement, forcing the wheelchair-user at best to take a slalom course.

Low hanging trees and shrubs, whilst æsthetically attractive, are a nightmare for the blind and visually impaired - not everyone can see that they need to duck or move around.

A steep drop from pavement to road: very difficult for independent wheelchair-users or pushers to control the chairs.

Missing ironworks - again a common feature - are just as potentially dangerous as raised ones.

Raised ironworks, potholes, cracks and uneven surface on a pedestrian-crossing.

Just as bad at the next junction with C/ Camelia.

And this dropped kerb does not actually align with the chewed-up crossing.

More obstacles

But you do get the sensory dropped kerb just before the crossing.

Nigh impossible to navigate round this item of street-furniture.

Missing ironworks: the pavement equivalent of a pothole!

Another low-hanging tree. The man ahead had to duck to pass under.

A rather steep, curving pavement.

Sensory and dropped kerb to traverse the zebra-crossing.

Keep going round if you are mobility impaired…

At the next crossing (the one we need)…

…we encounter a dropped kerb that has a lip.

The international symbol for disabled plus arrows attached to the front entrance point us to the right.

Alas, they're a tad difficult to perceive from the crossing, so one is going to make an unnecessary detour!

Access is via a side-door. I checked it opens really easily, despite looking sturdy.

There are three disabled-parking bays - but they are at the front, not at the side of the building!

Oftentimes, the buttons for requesting the green-man are set too high.

We now approach the area around the hotel Sunset Beach, where some of the worst examples of disablism on this route were encountered.

Above & below: avoid the steep, dropped kerbs and go round the bollards!

This hotel's one disabled-parking spot next to a ramp to an entrance.

Over the ironworks or brushed by the bush?

Another 'bus-stop inconveniently stationed in the centre of the pavement,

Oh, and a litter-bin!

Thou shalt not pass to the right…

…nor to the left!

Still, if one manages to negotiate the road and get back on to the pavement, there is a dropped kerb ahead.

A little steep - but that adds to the fun!

Can we get round this inconveniently located mini-bollard?

Yikes: why bother, even with a pusher this very high kerb would be extremely difficult to navigate!

And no way to pass close by as the waste authority has deposited a communal bin in the way.

The only way is to go into the road.

Hold on: there's a gap between the parked cars to the pavement…

But vehicles and bollards block any ability for pedestrians to continue, let alone wheelchair-users.

Oh, steps down to the disabled-ramp!

Back onto the road.

This looks like a steep drop.

But the smooth surface which becomes treacherously slippy when wet has been coated with non-slip strips.

Looking back, one can see just how steep the curving slope is.

Crossing with sensory & dropped kerbs.

However, on the other side you will not be able to pass between the post and the untrimmed shrubby without become very intimate with the bushes!

A 'bus-stop, built out from the pavement, so that the pavement remains clear for pedestrian traffic.

After a couple of months the upgrades at Carasco Beach are "complete".

The dropped kerb that is not: even the added-because-we-realise-we-miscalculated asphalt still leaves a lip up to the pavement.

Above & below double hand-rails for ambulant and wheelchair beach visitors.

This washed-out sign in pale blue on a white background advises that this is the bathing zone adapted for "invalids".

Dropped kerb next to disabled-parking bay.

Access for disabled folk.

Signage advising what facilities are available at the beach for those with impairments/disabilities.

The original ramp down to the beach, with no hand-rails.

A sign advising that we are on an adapted beach.

The beach facilities for folk with impairments/disabilities…

…which is LOCKED and there is no information as to how to obtain the key or access.

At least there is a disabled-wc.

The message from this image of a communal dustbin placed on a disabled-parking bay, is that we are unimportant?

The tourist point is accessible to the mobility impaired as there is level access from the western side. Wheelchair-users will just have to shout and hope someone hears you!

This crossing in the several months I have been here has been broken more than not when I have needed to use it. Wheelchair-users really would be taking their life in their hands if they attempted to traverse without assistance.

And on top of that, you also have to navigate the cracks and potholes.

This shop, one passes to reach the taxi-rank, has installed at least two ramps (see following two snaps).

And the final crossing to attain our goal of the taxi-rank next to the pharmacy, sensory pavements with dropped kerbs.


For more blog-posts for Blogging Against Disablism Day 2015 (#BADD2015) please check out the archive hosted by Diary of a Goldfish.

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