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.