November 4, 2009
I work in a second-floor office suite accessible only by stairs. It would be unfortunate for you if you needed wheelchair access to our office but there is neither any reason why such access would be anyone’s right nor is it a law that we provide that access. Understandably, the owner of the building opted not to install a $40,000 elevator on the outside of the building.
Now follow me in your mind to the inside of our beautiful suite. If you turn right after walking through the front door, you will come to another small set of stairs taking you from the upper to the lower level of a split-level design. The lower level contains the kitchen and a pair of bathrooms. On your way down, you will notice an odd white monstrosity on the other side of the banister, emblazoned with a large sticker that reads “Porch-Lift” and the international symbol for wheelchair access. Max load: 750 lbs, one person. Do not use for freight or storage.
Why on Earth would the owner install this $7,000 wheelchair lift when there is no way (short of carrying the hypothetical 750lb. wheelchair-bound individual up a flight of stairs from the street) – or legal requirement – for someone in a wheelchair to even get into the suite in the first place? Is the owner mad? Eccentric? Simply poor at reasoning? Read the rest of this entry »