Inaccessible Buildings Are Barriers to People with Disabilities

Recently, my family and I had a small get together at my house. We had a nice “catching up potluck” and although I couldn’t indulge in the food, I indulged in the atmosphere. Ever since I’ve had to rely on tube feeds to keep me going, I’ve truly realized how big of a role that food plays into our social lives. While the social air that food creates at home is great, wouldn’t it be nice to go out on the town every now and then with friends and/or family and create this space at a much fancier location? This proves to be a challenge, however, with so many restaurants and businesses that are inaccessible.

Barriers in Local Restaurants and Businesses

In the city near where I live, there is this pub in the downtown area that I want to go to for a meal. It’s a nice-looking Irish pub located in a really atmospheric old building. The key word here is “old.” During the summer some years back, me and my partner went on a double date with their brother and his wife. It was a lovely time, dining in the outside seating area. The weather was nice, the food was great, and overall, we had a blast, however, this outdoor seating area is the only seating area where I can dine at this restaurant in my power wheelchair.

Inaccessible Features of Local Businesses

local businesses are often inaccessible to wheelchair users
Photo by Tim Mossholder on

The main entrance has about an 8 to 10 inch-step up to get into the restaurant. The only other entrance into the building, the staff entrance, is the same. These “cliffs of doom” as I like to call them, are very problematic to us wheelchair users, as well as anyone who uses a mobility aid. While it’s nice that I can eat outside of the restaurant, it kind of makes me feel like an animal, unworthy of being inside of the restaurant. What am I supposed to do if it rains? What if I want to join some friends at this restaurant in the fall when their seating area is closed? Realistically, I can only go to this restaurant during the summer.

This is, unfortunately, the reality for a lot of businesses within this city. Most of them have steps or short, dangerously steep slants up to their step entrances (seriously, we are talking like, 60- degree angles). This makes it extremely difficult for me to go anywhere. If I’m being honest, it makes me feel unwelcome.

The Lack of Accessibility in Historic Buildings

Recently, I managed to get into a store that I’ve wanted to check out for a while. I had to call the store when I got there though and wait for them to bring their ramp out for me. If you ask me, I hate that older buildings and buildings that are considered historic, can get away with not being truly accessible. We are in 2022, not the 1950s. It’s a shame that all of these nice-looking businesses around me unknowingly (or knowingly) limit their customer base.

people walking on street in front of building with steps that inaccessible
Photo by Scott Webb on

I don’t know how many advocates it takes to change the city’s mind on allowing these buildings to remain like this, but it’s a fight that I and a few of my also disgruntled friends want to take on. We deserve to be able to go into the businesses that we want, along with everyone else. Once again, it’s a shame that these places continue to limit who can and can’t visit them.

About Chrysanthemum Chan: Chrysanthemum is an award-winning cosplayer and Quantum brand ambassador. She enjoys fashion, cosplay and music and has a TikTok channel with over 380,000 followers. Click here to learn more about Chrysanthemum.

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