Window dressing versus real accessibility
That same Friday morning last month, when I’d inadvertently counted the steps at Barbican tube station, I purposely counted the steps at the gym. Disabled friendly it ain’t.
First there’s a steep flight of stairs down from the entrance door, then two metal spiral staircases and further steps beyond, making a grand total of 55. Even if a potential gym user with a minor disability could make it down the first flight of steps, they’d have a limited amount of equipment available to them – about ten weights machines. For the rest, plus the treadmills, cycles and mat areas – and the all-important changing rooms, showers and lockers, it’d mean getting down 13 spiral steps. And then a further spiral staircase to get you to the remaining equipment and – guess what – the changing rooms.
The gym designers went as far as providing a disabled toilet and shower. All in one ‘wet room’ with seats, handles and a help alarm – ideal, were it not that it’d take a minor miracle to ever reach it. Clearly no disabled person is ever going to use these facilities.
Are all ‘high street’ gyms as ridiculously inaccessible as mine?