December 21, 2008

Inaccessible

PK is a stroller baby, through and through. While I've had limited luck in carrying her in her sling, she still doesn't quite take to her carrier. I have managed to keep her in for a bit longer each time, though the only time she actually seems happy in it is when I stand in front of a mirror with her in the carrier. So, I must use the stroller on a day-to-day basis to get from point A to point B. I don't mind so much, since I can walk at a pretty good clip with the stroller, Plus, it has awesome storage on the bottom, so I can put groceries and other purchases in there.

The only sucky thing about taking PK around in a stroller on a day-to-day basis is that you start to realize just how wheelchair un-friendly Toronto really is. First off, only some TTC subway stations are wheelchair-friendly (and hence stroller-friendly). This means that a person in a wheelchair can't just get off at any subway station that he or she chooses. This is absolutely appalling. By making only some subway stations wheelchair-friendly, the city is basically snubbing people in wheelchairs, sending a message that they don't think that these people deserve to get out and take public transit along with the rest of us. When there IS a wheelchair-friendly station, the elevators aren't necessarily working. I have gotten off a many a subway station where time and again I have been unable to take the elevator due to "Preventive Maintenance". That's all fine and dandy, except that the TTC's solution when their elevators aren't working is to take the subway to another wheelchair-friendly station and hop on a whelchair-friendly bus that will hopefully get you to your destination. I'm a little more flexible with the stroller when the elevator isn't working, as long as there's a working escalator going in the direction that I need it to go. Sometimes only the up escalator is working when I need to go down, for example. In that case, I'm either screwed and must turn back, or I have to ask some kind soul to help carry my stroller up a bunch of stairs.

Now, even if all TTC stations were wheelchair-friendly, it wouldn't do wheelchair-bound individuals much good in a snowstorm, because the city does a piss-poor job of making sure that sidewalks are properly cleared of snow. Some of the property owners on my street do such a sloppy job of clearing out the snow (i.e they don't clear it at all), that not only is it nearly impossible to navigate the sidewalks with a stroller, it poses a SERIOUS hazard when all of that snow or slush re-freezes. Last year, when I was pregnant, I almost took a HUGE spill in front of a house when we were returning from the supermarket, because the property owners/tenants were too damned lazy to clear the snow. The only reason why I didn't fall was because some blessed soul happened to be walking just behind me and caught me as I fell.

One observation that I've made since I've started taking the elevator when I ride the TTC with the stroller is the number of people who use the elevator because they're just plain lazy. It is freaking ridiculous. I have lost count of the number of times that I've gotten into a TTC elevator with young, able-bodied individuals who could've just as easily have taken the damn stairs. I've never gotten to the point where I've had to yell at these people to get off the elevator to make room for the stroller. Fortunately, they at least have the common courtesy to do so.

On a similar note, a HUGE pet peeve I have is when people press the button to automatically open doors that are meant for wheelchair or stroller access. This behavior pisses me off for two reasons. First of all, by doing so, people are causing unnecessary wear and tear on the automated system. This means that the automated door mechanism ends up breaking down sooner, and the people who actually NEED the system are the ones who get screwed over. The other thing that gets me is that, as with the elevators, I don't get what the big deal is about exerting a little bit of effort to open a freaking door. WTF??? Unless I have the stroller with me, I will not push the automatic-door button.

It's funny how having a stroller to lug around can be such an eye-opener, isn't it?

1 comment:

Mr. Shiny and New said...

Wow, this is the blog post I've been meaning to write. Amen to every word! Some of the TTC ridiculeousity I've run into with a stroller is Sheppard-Yonge station, where, in order to get to the Sheppard subway, you have to go down, then across, then up; but if one of those elevators isn't working they don't post a sign where it makes sense; instead you walk all the way to the second (broken) elevator, find out it's broken, then have to retrace your steps, go back up to where you started, then out to the west end of the station where you can go up, across, then down. A piece of paper and a sharpie can make a huge difference, but it's not like the TTC staff care.

Then there's Yonge/Bloor. If one of the elevators that gets you between lines is broken, your alterante route is to get on the subway and go to St. George station.

And nevermind all the stations with only one escalator (taking the stroller on the escalator is quite dangerous, actually... but sometimes there is no choice).