Victoria needs to offer better wheelchair access

Aug. 14, 2013 at 3:14 a.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

Victoria wheelchair handicapped people deserve better.

In the 16 years that my wife has been in a wheelchair, we have encountered many locations, businesses and others, local and national, that just don't see and maybe don't care about the problems faced by those in wheelchairs.

Wheelchair access to the City council Chamber and municipal court is a disgrace. The access ramp is 150 feet from the front door, meaning the handicapped person must go 300 feet to get to the door. The fix would be easy. Duplicate the ramp that goes into City Hall. Until the city manager gets the ramp to the council chambers installed, I suggest blocking off the steps and making everyone walk that 300 feet.

The recent downtown street project missed installing at least one important wheelchair curb ramp, the one at the northwest corner of City Hall. Also, the DeLeon Plaza Gazebo is wheelchair accessible only from the northwest corner. As a minimum, it should be accessible from all four corners.

I presented the above and other related items to the City Council during citizen input in January 2009. A copy of that should be in the minutes.

All businesses, government and buildings open to the public should take a hard look at their wheelchair access, inside and outside. Don't look just at the minimum required by law. All business owners, managers and government heads need to do a reality check.

During normal business hours, put a wheelchair in your vehicle, drive to your workplace, park in one of your handicapped parking spots, if you can find one, get in the chair and enter your workplace. Check out the doors for entry and ease of opening, aisles and restrooms.

Would you give yourself a passing grade if it were one of your parents in the wheelchair?

Victoria's handicapped deserve better.

Ray Pilsner, Victoria



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