Safety in Accessibility

Thank you to everyone writing to me about the ramp at 476 Roncesvalles. Like you I am a strong advocate for making Toronto an accessible City. Unfortunately, this ramp does not provide for safe access for people using a mobility device. That is why the City has told the owner to remove it.

The Province has passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act which sets out standards for making buildings and services like public transit accessible. It sets out a series of requirements for ramps to ensure that people who use mobility devices can use them safely. More information can be found at: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly…

Often fitting a ramp to an existing building can be a tricky, even onerous, job. That’s why the Stopgap program has been such a success. Where a business might avoid building a ramp because of the paperwork and expense, Stopgap steps in and provides a quick easy fix.

Most Stopgap ramps are simple and straightforward. The City has supported these. However, this location has bigger challenges. In order to fit the tight space at 476 Roncesvalles, the ramp includes a 90 degree turn. Turning in a wheelchair or mobility device takes space. This ramp does not provide enough space. Also, for safety’s sake, a turn or landing should have handrails.

Because there isn’t room to turn, and there are no handrails, this ramp does not provide safe access for people with mobility devices. The whole point of the ramp should be to provide safe access.

As much as I want access in a hurry, I can’t support installing accessibility ramps that are dangerous and don’t really solve the access problem.

The City has raised these concerns with Stopgap, and has yet to find a solution. I and some other Councillors are look for ways to help businesses, like the one at 476 Roncesvalles, which are faced with accessibility challenges that are not easily met. Please share any suggestions you have.

Again, thank you for speaking up.

Gord