Where the sidewalk ends

where the sidewalk ends

Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

Yesterday I went back to work. I teach at Evergreen Valley College
in San Jose. Lo, I found a few handicapped parking spaces out back of the building where I teach, but it was up a very steep hill, in a sort of back alley with no sidewalk connecting it to campus. Out in the main parking lot, there was a big area of disabled parking spots, so I went for that.

Then I had three choices: Head to the center of campus. Head into what looked like a big complicated indoor/outdoor building maze. Head down a sidewalk that went in the direction of my building!

I chose the sidewalk. As I womanfully shoved myself uphill I came around the corner and beheld a hedge and an abrupt sidewalk’s end, with steep curb. After the cussing stopped I waited a few minutes till someone walked by, then asked them to bump me down the curb. From there I went flying down the narrow, winding road to my building; non optimal to say the least.

On the way back out I figured I’d go to the center of campus and get an errand done. From the central bus turnaround, I could *see my own car* up in the handicapped parking area. As the photo here shows, I could also see a buttload of stairs. Stairs ahead, stairs to the left, stairs to the right. There was no path. So if I’d tried to go from the parking lot to the center of campus, I wouldn’t have been able to.

Finally I headed uphill and into the tangle of buildings and classrooms, because I found a ramp. The maze of twisty little passages all alike disgorged me finally into the parking lot.

Oh, my aching triceps!

When I used to go to De Anza, the same thing was true. Maps (previously constructed able-person maps, or maps on paper) were useless. I had a campus map, and tried to mark it up, over time, with rough elevation changes and little markings for stairs, and highlightered paths to indicate the ways I could actually go.

Every campus should take the time to make an easy to understand map with information for people on wheels. In fact that level of info is useful for other kinds of wheels, namely strollers.

3 Comments so far

  1. The Great Ganesha (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 11:40 am

    have you been to gmap-pedometer? it’s a google-maps hack that gives you distances, elevation, satellite pics and map overlay.

    we use it to plan running routes, but perhaps it’ll make your life a little easier. if nothing else, it’ll at least give you the elevation of a particular route and the satellite pics will alert you of the presence of stairs.

  2. anna (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

    I remember De Anza as the zone of the hidden stairs. Randomly, too it seems. Like “let’s sink this courtyard 2 steps!” Blame Mission architecture?

  3. TinMan (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 9:02 pm

    Naaah, blame the San Andreas Fault. It pretty much runs right under the campus.

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