I’ve seen this picture of Robson Square in Vancouver pop up every now and then while doing research for this blog. So many times people commenting on the picture rave about how this is such a great idea and way to combine stairs with a ramp. Yes it is visually stunning and beautiful I will admit. Functionally though, especially for a wheelchair, this setup is dangerous.
Biggest danger is going off the sides of the ramp or landings. Rolling or tumbling down those stairs would not be fun yet it’s possible. The slope of the ramp is also quite steep and would take some strength to get all the way up. Going down would require some speed control. People walking up the stairs also need to be careful since the risers vary in height as the stairs taper off.
To be fair this was probably made more for artistic beauty and not accessibility. Robson Square was also constructed in 1980, before any accessibility design standards were enforced. However I’ve seen this same concept used in other places and I hope people realize this is not the way to make a pathway accessible.