Mobility at UBC
This is a page for people to compare their experiences navigating the UBC campus, when walking is not easy.
Grumbles, suggestions, encouragement or embarrassment for the university.
some keywords: mobility, disability, access
'[added Nov 013] No one has added to this page since I began it several years ago,although it has had many visitors. And my situation has changed. I am more disabled now and some things I reported as no problem (see ** below) are now impossible. Still, the UBC campus has not improved in the time of this thread, from the mobility point of view.]
[added October 015] This is my last term at UBC. I get around with a wheelchair or a scooter. The main problem I am finding is the lack of door-opening buttons. Most buildings have one automatic entrance, though it can require going round till you find it (Buchanan A) or negotiating buttons far away from the doors they open (Buchanan D), but once you are inside it can be very difficult. There are disabled wash-rooms with no easy way in. There are fire doors you'd never get past in a fire. The teaching I do is in a seminar room, which is just as well as I would never get to the front of most lecture theatres. The conclusion is that UBC is pretty inhospitable for disabled students, but even more so for disabled faculty. The campus is comparatively flat, and would be more manageable than many if the building design were not so bad. (All these new buildings on campus, mostly pretty unimaginative, and minimal attempts to make them accessible.) In some countries this would occasion lawsuits.
~ The library will get books for you and hold them at the desk for you to collect. That's nice. But they charge to deliver them to your office. They charge per book, so there's no saving by having several delivered at once, even though it cannot be more labour time for them. Perhaps some tweaking of the rules? ~ You can ask for books to be held for you at any branch library, and there may be one nearer to you than the library the books are shelved at. In my case, Barber is nearer than Koerner, so I can have books sent there and then walk to pick them up.
~ If you do get a student assistant assigned to pick up books for you they are hired by the disability office out of the University Access Fund not your Department’s budget. (Thanks to Ruth Warick for this information.)
~ the library will issue a special card to someone authorized to pick up and charge out books for you.
notes from past years (**)
- ( 20I2 ) I have far fewer problems than some. I walk with a cane and I can manage the distance from the bus loop to Buchanan or Koerner. But not more, not in one effort. I avoid going down stairs for fear of falling, but I will do it if I have to. So here are some recent observations from this mildly disabled point of view. Add your own if you think it worthwhile.
- The placement of elevators on many UBC buildings is not very helpful. Barber learning centre is an interesting case, as it is a recent design. The elevators stop one set of stairs below the ground level and one set above it. So either way ... Why would any architect?
update about Barber (14 March): this is just wrong. On the East Mall side the elevators have a stop at the entrance level.
- There was construction on campus last week - a zebra-striped digger - that involved a detour on the path from the trolley loop to the main campus, which doubled the distance to some destinations. That may have been inevitable, but they put the "detour" sign so that you do not see it until you have already come a long way, and it is probably easier to struggle on than to turn back and take an alternate route. A place of mind?
'(A few days later -20 Jan - the distinctive digger is still there, and you can see it from the trolley loop, So I guess the detour is still there. But no sign.)
(11 March 2013) An event at the University Centre Lower Level (UCLL). That's really hard to get to, dangerous. And I expect that there are elevators, inside the building, but there's no way of getting to them.
Peter Wall and Sage have some of the same problems.
(January 013) I'm teaching in Barber 182 (the Victoria Theatre): the way down to the podium has no rail - could be fatal. If you stick to the walls you can put a hand against them: but there the steps are twice as high. Very bad design. And the work-around routes to the lower side doors lead to doors that are sometimes locked, and are far further to go. They are also worryingly isolated: if you fell here it would be a long time before anyone found you.
Is it useful to collect observations like this? Will others add to it? This might become a useful forum, or it might be a waste of time. I'm hoping that it might help discover small things that one person wouldn't bother complaining or suggesting about until learning that they are problems for many people.
Adam Morton - department of philosophy