Ensure paths, facilities are disabled-friendly

Straits Times Forum, 2 February 2013 (print edition)

THE Disabled People’s Association empathises with what Ms Amy Loh Chee Seen and her sister had to contend with when helping their mother, who is a wheelchair user, travel around Geylang (“Wheelchair ‘obstacle course’ in Geylang”; Forum Online, last Saturday).

Obstructions and inaccessible steps along pavements sometimes force wheelchair users to compromise their safety by using the roads instead of pedestrian paths.

Although much has been done to promote accessibility and ensure that new buildings are disability-friendly, not all older structures and pedestrian paths have been upgraded to be accessible. This problem is made worse by objects such as signs and tables being placed on public paths, and people using facilities, such as toilets, meant for people with disabilities as storage areas.

As Singapore’s population ages and more people rely on wheelchairs or other mobility aids, we urge the public to be aware of their needs and keep pedestrian paths and facilities for people with disabilities clear of obstructions.

We encourage the public to take pictures of both accessible and inaccessible public facilities, entrances and building features, and upload them onto the Share What’s Friendly! page of the Our Friendly Built Environment Portal website, which is run by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

This feedback will help the BCA share what areas are more disability-friendly, and check on areas where accessibility could be improved. People can also visit this website to see what buildings are accessible and to what extent.

Marissa Lee Medjeral (Dr)
Executive Director
Disabled People’s Association

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