By Roxanne Bequio
The reconstruction of outdated pathways on Ocean campus to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act has created a campus that is more user friendly by increasing accessibility and allowing for better navigation for disabled students said Leilani F. Battiste, City College’s ADA Compliance Director/Assistant Legal Counsel.
“The switchback paths have been created on both the north and south ends of Science and Cloud Halls. These paths link to other lower-level paths leading to Cloud Hall. Also, accessible paths leading in and out of Cloud Hall to the Science/Cloud Plaza have been created to facilitate options to access the two buildings,” said Battiste.
Installing switchback paths have reduced complications for disabled students who had to travel up steep grades to reach the Science Hall, Cloud Hall or the Science/Cloud Plaza from Cloud Circle, said Battiste. An additional path starts from the Phelan Avenue sidewalk and leads into Ocean campus’s Cloud Circle.
Pathway improvements were carefully designed by appointed architects, and reviewed for approval by the college’s outside accessibility expert, said Battiste.
“Getting to and from the Science and Cloud Halls was extremely challenging if you were in a wheelchair or on a scooter,” said Battiste of the previous campus pathways. “All of the new paths will allow wheelchair or scooter users to traverse paths, which had too steep of a grade, and access all points on campus.”
“I think they did an excellent job when they refurbished the layout for handicapped people. It makes it easier to get to class and it also looks nicer,” said City College student Virginia B. Psarras, who had a left shoulder replacement 11 years ago and also uses a crutch for an injured knee.
“It’s just that it’s a little steep, but you know, I make due with what I can,” said Randy Gee, City College student and wheelchair user, about the ramps leading to the Cloud and Science Halls. “It’s a better improvement than it was before. I don’t have any classes up there this year. I only had to go up [to Cloud Hall] for financial aid.”
According to Battiste, several curb ramps have also been installed along the sidewalks around Cloud Circle, making it much easier for wheelchair and scooter users to cross streets. The previous layout forced them to backtrack and prolonged their travel times.
“It’s been pretty good since the last time I was here. For instance, coming in from across the street there used to be a little speed bump that you couldn’t see, and I went over it a couple times and fell down. They fixed that,” Gee said.
The additional stairs on the eastern perimeter of Cloud Hall leading to Cloud Circle compensate for the potential of heavy foot traffic on switchback routes, Battiste said.
“Any further modifications to ADA improvements, though none are anticipated at this time, would be paid for with funds from the 2005 bond fund,” said Battiste.
“I have not received any complaints so far about the new Path of Travel,” Battiste said. “Anyone having any complaints should feel free to contact me.”