The access area. What city in Ukraine is the most comfortable for people with limited mobility

Зона доступа. Какие города в Украине наиболее комфортны для маломобильных граждан

Traveled 12 cities of Ukraine in a wheelchair , the head of public organization “Доступно.UA” Dmitry Webutuck found that province in terms of accessibility often wins out over the cities

There is a stereotype that a barrier-free urban space it is only necessary for people with disabilities. But, says Dmitry Webutuck to people with limited mobility can be attributed to 55% of the residents. This includes me actually, as I am wheelchair bound. My group also includes older people, pregnant women, parents with prams, the injured citizens and even travelers with two heavy suitcases, and have even less physical capabilities to traverse such obstacles. Sometimes we all need ramps, lifts and easy slopes from the pavements to the roadway.

Very Sepetuka accessibility to the city is vital, because after his sports injury he moves in a wheelchair. He could have gotten immediate Sports Medicine Injury Therapy  to avoid making his injury worse, but by the time he knew he had a problem it was too late. His summer organization “Доступно.UA” implemented the project “10 mist for 4 month” journey through Ukrainian cities. In fact, Sebeok with colleagues visited 12 cities of Lviv and Lutsk in the West to Ochakov and of Cherkasy in the center and South of the country. Arriving in town, they checked the availability of its streets, public institutions, including the city administration, as well as public transport. Along the way the team “Доступно.UA” I met with local activists and government officials, noted barrier-free institution. The result will be an online accessibility map.

Locations on the map

What expectations you had before the trip?

— Ukrainian cities, the situation is unpredictable. Sometimes I’m not expecting or waiting for something terrible and the city is available. For some reason I thought Kropiwnicki will be same awkward, as Zaporozhye, but it was nice to see a European city. I did not know what to expect from Krivoy Rog, and was shocked when we got there: the city is so long and impersonal, that at first did not even know where to do validation and how the citizens are in one way or another in the city.

It is very important, as the city welcomes people. In the winery, for example, a nightmarish station and near the market stalls festooned with advertisements — immediately creates a negative impression. The same in Kiev: the train station is difficult to reach the person in a wheelchair.

Even relatively new areas that were built ten years ago, pretty uncomfortable, with high curbs. We understand that you have to reach the consciousness of people more likely to raise the issue of accessibility. I realize that mayors have a lot of responsibilities, they cannot monitor each contractor and poke their nose in the gaps. But we can show that there is a problem.
Do you see any consistency in the implementation of accessibility in the Ukrainian cities? Or this process is still chaotic?

— On paper the system is. Since 2006, work new building codes, building regulations, accessibility that should be considered in the reconstruction of buildings. Slowly, in rare cases, this system is in sight. The most striking example of Vinnitsa, where there is a public organization “Harmony”. As Volodymyr Groysman mayor of the town “Harmony” has ensured that all construction projects are directly passed statement to her. Then the head of the organization was Raisa Panasyuk, she carefully traced to all standards of accessibility are adhered to, and not signed projects chief architect of the city until everything is done. This system still operates, it did so to make it work in any direction of the city.

In Lviv, also in recent years began to take a more holistic approach to accessibility: the city government is open, the city has experienced activist Yaroslav Hrybalsky involved in this. It is very important that is getting more people interested in this topic and joining the activists.

In those cities where the citizens are accustomed to endure, everything remains the same. This is especially felt in the East and South of Ukraine. We, for example, impressed by Nikolaev, where motorists are kings and pedestrians rush to quickly cross the road. People got used to it, it is normal that they feel interfere with the machines, and hurry hurry to get out of the way. I think this is wrong, the pedestrian should have priority.

Kiev is a progressive city in terms of accessibility?

— No. Here is a very active community, but with the construction of the absurd. For example, built the stairs at the Mall Landscape, they spent a large budget. There was an Elevator to the promenade area, but it is not. While the government brags about this project. The Europeans would never have praised a project that can’t use a lot of citizens.

In Kiev, visible progress, but only because of the community. We have the opening of the ramp at the Postal square. There is a lift, however it only works in hours, while the restaurant “Compote”, and if not joined activists ramp and would stand unfinished. In the administration there are some people promoting the idea of accessibility, but consistency is not. When the city hall organized a Committee on accessibility, but it does nothing and signs of helplessness. Moreover, the Committee members open, for example, children’s playgrounds, and they are not inclusive.

Зона доступа. Какие города в Украине наиболее комфортны для маломобильных граждан

Space discomfort. In Krivoy Rog the man in the wheelchair easier to drive on the roadway, than to overcome the high curbs

Judging by your project, a small city more affordable than a major. Why is this happening?

— I think that in small towns better communication between the community and the administering city, it is easier communication. It is easier to reach the officials to explain what they need the townspeople.

In Kiev difficult. Here the branched out bureaucracy, some officials redirect to the other, the second to the third. They all say that someone else’s fault or nobody’s fault and you go in circles, and nothing is solved. To move forward, our team is combined with other public organizations, together we press on to the town hall.

That is, in your opinion, change is possible only when people take initiative into their own hands?

— At this stage — Yes. It can’t be, must be done by the Executive authorities. But until an effective tool is active citizens who call the authorities together to resolve large troubled projects, and every organization is engaged in its sphere.

In Kropyvnyts’ke is an active mass, and visible changes. In Kharkiv also has an active community, but for some reason, she cannot effectively work with the authorities, there is no interaction. The active community and open government is a recipe for success availability in the Ukrainian cities.

How many points of the SNiP was on your list of test cities?

We tracked the basic norms of accessibility: the width of doors, the angle of the ramp, are there handrails and what their height is, whether there are thresholds and what their height is, whether equipped restrooms. Also pay attention to services not covered by the building regulations, for example, is there a changing table and children’s room, bike racks and Parking for people with disabilities in 50 m from the building there is a Parking lot. If we talk about the food service establishments, we said, is it possible to log in with the animals and is there a menu in Braille or adapted menu on the website. In total we had about 18 points.

Personal experience

Where were you when he went through the cities? As is the situation with housing affordability?

— Often in hotels. Was looking for an affordable and well-equipped among them was that a room at the Ibis in Lviv. Housing is a difficult situation. In Ivano-Frankivsk, for example, there is only one hotel “Nadia” with the appropriate number. So often you can choose from different price categories.

In our rooms and I fell in the shower and on the floor crawling around to climb into the carriage, and had a point to take a shower. Travel in addition to everything else it takes a lot of energy and time. Sometimes I lived in the same room with someone to make it easier.

In the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities stated that the services that we provide, should be worth exactly the same as everyone else. In Ukrainian hotels, I’m often faced with the fact that it has the room only Junior Suite, which costs respectively. If you book a room equipped in Europe, and there are only Junior, you Lodge at the regular price of a standard room. People with disabilities ask me where to stay in Kiev not for all the money in the world. I answer that with equipped rooms are only hotel “Verkhovyna” in Svyatoshino, for the ring road, in fact, on the outskirts of the city. But to get from there to civilization and drive from transport need to go down to the subway — only stairs. On the Khreshchatyk there are hotels with available rooms, but they cost $100 a day.

Are you going to become an officer or Deputy to deal with accessibility issues?

— I often suggest it — at least to become a member of the city Council. I don’t reject this idea, but in the next five years in power will not go, because while more effective in its place. Want to better understand the mechanisms of public administration. Because of the trips across Ukraine, communication with the city authorities and different departments, to better understand how it works. I do not see sense to become a member and only with the words “sink” for the availability. Even those people who have something to offer, no sense now to go into politics, as it was unclear with whom to work. In such a situation, the best ideas can drown, and lose credibility, you won’t be able to win the election.

About the availability of Ukrainian cities in one line

Rivne — a city of “equality”, here, everything is equally awful and much rabbitstopper center is much more accessible than in Renolux — the city where the availability of only visual, take advantage of it nevozmojnosti — European-friendly city with depressions sidewalks and the municipal nizkoprofil transportarea Temple in Kirovohrad region was pleasantly surprised by its lastupdateuserid — smooth tiles in the center, non-slip and comfortable for all, and the Palace of culture “Friendship of peoples”Zaporozhye — a city where scared and do not want to walk. An example of how urban space can disconnect and limit ludacrious horn — grey, the long town, where not enough energy to cross the road. Its residents many jokes to compensate for Sebastiana Church — architectural chaotic city with so substandard pavement that walking, you’re sure making a mess in palichakal pleasantly surprised depressions sidewalks and understanding how to make the city accessible

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