Many buildings are built such that they are possible to use in a wheelchair, and then mismanaged in ways that make them completely and needlessly inaccessible. Here’s some things you can do to avoid that problem:
- If some of the entrances to your building are not flat, post signs that clearly state where the accessible entrances can be found.
- If you need to control access to your building by locking some of the entrances, make sure to keep at least one accessible entrance open. Even if this means you don’t use the fancy entrance. Being accessible is more important than being fancy.
- If some of your parking lots lead to accessible entrances, and others lead to inaccessible entrances post that information and directions to the correct parking lot *at the entrance to the parking lot*.
- If some of your entrances look accessible at first but then lead to stairs, post signs that make this clear and that direct to an actually accessible entrance. Do not make people waste their time with decoy entrances.
- Make sure the elevator is as easy to find as the stairs. (For instance: If the elevator is not next to the stairs, post signs by the stairs with directions to the elevator). Do not post signs telling people that taking the stairs is more virtuous than taking the elevator.
- If the passenger elevator is broken but there is an alternative (freight elevator, service elevator, etc) post this information with the out-of-order sign, and provide a cell phone number or other way someone who needs an elevator can contact help getting to the alternative elevator.
- If you have a website, accurately describe the accessibility of your building. If some areas aren’t accessible, or are only sort of accessible, be honest about it. That allows people to plan. Provide a phone number or email address people can use to ask accessibility questions, and make sure the person answering it knows what they are talking about and cares.
- Make sure your building maps accurately describe your building from the perspective of someone on wheels. For instance, if the pedestrian bridge linking two parts of your mall has two steps at the entrance, your map needs to say this. Likewise, if there is a step to get into the food court from one direction but not the other, the map needs to say this. Misleading maps waste a lot of time.
- Listen to what people with disabilities tell you about accessibility. If they tell you something is a problem, believe them and fix it.