no exit (or: observations on the mbta's handicaps)

Say you were in a wheelchair. You're riding the subway, get off at your stop and see a stick-figure-in-a-wheelchair sign posted by the sliding exit doors. Is your first thought, "This sign clearly means there's no elevator on the other side of these doors, so I should roll right through them so I have to turn around and pay to get back into the station to get to the actual handicapped-accessible exit"?

If not, the MBTA really needs to work on its communication skills.

As the T has moved from turnstiles to the sliding-door model for its entrances/exits, it seems to be making more of an effort to be accessible for the disabled. But not really.

I noticed today while riding the T that these handicapped-accessible doors are being installed at Central and Kendall Square exits that only have stairs. Oops.

It's no surprise, really. I've come to expect handicapped service from the T, certainly not adequate service for the handicapped. But the least the T could do is remove the misleading signage.


eeka said...

Yep, I've noticed that too...

While the MBTA is clearly being idiotic here, the whole idea of signage-describing-accessibility needs to be revamped. There are a lot of folks who appreciate a sign clearly indicating which gate is wide-sized -- people with poor vision, a wide uneven gait, a service animal, etc., who can use stairs or an escalator. But yeah, the sign as we know it does indicate to most people that there'd be an elevator through there as well.

It would also be nice if it were commonplace to have signs indicating location of escalators, non-revolving doors, and so forth. These are helpful for a lot of people with disabilties who might not be using a wheelchair but can manage these things better than stairs and revolving doors.

Oh, the best one is where the T actually DOES have signs indicating where the escalator is, only the escalator leads to a landing where the only way out (up OR down) is a stairway. There's one of these in Harvard station at the Church Street exit, and I followed the signs on a day that my mobility particularly sucked. The sign said "Escalator to Church Street," only it was more like "escalator to platform of doom" where there was no escalator or elevator up or down. I can generally pull myself up a flight of stairs using the railing, but not everyone can. The only sign that should be there is one clearly indicating that exiting the station that way requires using stairs.

Anonymous said...

I do that constantly, I remember down in NY having to pay something like $4.50 to get out of the Grand Central IRT until I finally found the right exit; I now have it memorized by the compass painting on the tile floor in the paid lobby at GCT (follow the "north" on the compass ;p). The T does a decent job of signing for elevators, but they will need to clarify signage since they're putting in the wide faregates. The wide gates help more than us wheelchair users though, they also help folks with strollers or large packages (ie groceries etc), so there's definitely value to putting them in, but I see your signage issue.