Wednesday, July 6, 2016

You Really CAN Get There in a Wheelchair!

I've been traveling around Seattle by wheelchair over the last couple weeks.  In my previous blog post, and in reports on facebook, I've highlighted the obstacles to wheelchair travel - which are significant.  But I don't want to leave the wrong impression - in fact I've been able to get where I need to go with only minimal problems.

Overall I feel extremely fortunate to live in a place where independent wheelchair travel is possible - despite our notorious hills and infamous rain.

Here are some positives:

1. Every single one of our public buses has a wheelchair ramp and can carry two people in wheelchairs.

2. With few exceptions, bus stops are accessible.

3. Bus drivers know how to operate the ramps and how to secure wheelchairs on board, and are cheerfully willing to help wheelchair riders get on and off.

4. Sidewalks near most bus stops have gotten at least a minimum amount of repair to make them passable.

5. Link Light Rail is very easy to use by wheelchair; just roll right on.

6. Most public buildings and many shops and restaurants are accessible.

7. There are enough people out and about in wheelchairs that nobody finds it especially remarkable.  Twice I've had to wait for the next bus because a bus was already carrying two wheelchairs.

8. Buses and trains run frequently enough that I don't need to pay close attention to schedules.

9. It doesn't really rain in Seattle.  Hmmm... I guess I can't count on that one!

I certainly hope YOU don't fall and break your hip - but if you do, try getting around in a wheelchair. You might actually enjoy it.


  1. Hmmm. Glad you are having such a positive experience but....

    You are really fit and energetic. Lots of people who use wheelchairs have a lot less physical capacity.

    Some buses have lifts, not ramps. Sometimes the lifts get stuck in some other position than the one that allows the bus to move.

    Some drivers have bad days or bad backs or other impediments to cheerfulness and help about securing the wheelchair.

    As far as accessible buildings, what is your experience using the restroom for instance in Pike Place market?

    You need some crappy sidewalks with curb cuts installed all kinds of ways or light poles in the middle of the sidewalk or all kinds of impediments. I can certainly tell you where to look.

    Hills. How do you feel about Seattle hills?

    There. Possibly enough raining on your parade...

    1. This post is meant as the upside to the generally critical previous post. Yes, all these things are true and more.