Accessibility in Chattanooga (The Bad)April 21, 2021
While Chattanooga has been moving in a positive direction in terms of accessibility as of late, there are still certain places that stand out as “problem areas” for one attempting to travel in a wheelchair. Below is a spot that we’ve had trouble with in the past when trying to leave from Buffalo Wild Wings. The area used to be equipped with a large electronic elevator that could bring a person up the steep hill, but unfortunately stopped working after a short time and was abandoned. This complicated matters as the sidewalk was an incredibly steep incline that eventually led to a drop off, requiring the person in the wheelchair to go back down the same steep hill they just ascended, to find a way to the other side.
The drop off has since been fixed but the elevator has been removed completely. While someone in a wheelchair can ascend and reach their destination now, they are still not able to do so without risk, as the sidewalk is incredibly narrow and some places are raised as to make getting over them a challenge.
Note the corner has been smoothed over to provide a slant where there was once a drop off. If the elevator is no longer an option, converting the former elevator into a large ramp with hand rails may present a better option than the narrow sidewalk to the left.
All in all, I do have to give credit to Chatt for the degree of its accessibility, especially for being a city located in the economically challenged region of the Southeast. However, I hope to see areas like this improve to mitigate the difficulties for those in wheelchairs trying to navigate independently.