[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Check facilities for disabledI sometimes use the restroom in the basement of the Hyundai department store at Sinchon station. I usually don’t think much about it. But, yesterday, I noticed something that disturbed me. There is a separate restroom for physically challenged people, but I could not find any signs to distinguish it from the other rooms. Moreover, the aisle leading to it was too narrow for a wheelchair, making it impossible to use for many of the people it is designed for. I think those who design restrooms for the physically challenged should consider more carefully whether they will feel comfortable using them.
In fact, many of the restrooms in Seoul are built without careful consideration of the physically challenged. In Seoul, there are 32,000 such restrooms, but a significant number are useless, because the slope to the restroom is too steep. In addition, there are no braille points for the blind, or washing facilities for people who can hardly move their hands.
Moreover, some such restrooms are not used for their intended purpose, as I discovered from seeing some photos on the Internet taken at a famous shopping mall. Surprisingly, the restroom for physically challenged people there is used as a storage room for cleaning supplies. The workers there should have thought about the rights of physically challenged people, and the money spent to make restrooms for them. If restrooms for physically challenged people are not used appropriately, then the money spent to build them is wasted.
To solve these problems, there should be a more organized system to determine whether such restrooms are convenient for physically challenged people. I think it would be helpful to get feedback in the form of a poll or survey of physically challenged people, to check on the quality of the restrooms where they live. The results could then be used to improve the facilities.
by Shin Hye-yeon