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How accessible is Rosebank for persons living with disability?

How accessible is Rosebank for persons living with disability?

Rosebank has been hailed as one of the few walkable, welcoming and inclusive precincts in Johannesburg. However, not much focus has been given to accessibility-related challenges faced by persons with disabilities living and visiting the neighbourhood.

Ahead of the Rosebank Transport Indaba held on Friday October 29, 2021 the Rosebank Management District invited freelance journalist, Moira de Swardt, who is wheelchair-bound, to travel through Rosebank and report back on the accessibility challenges presented.

Here’s what she had to say…

“Wheelchair users often gripe, even more often with good cause, about the difficulties of getting around urban spaces. To this end I was invited to explore the terrain.

The brief journey around central Rosebank took us from Southern Sun Rosebank Hotel, past the Hyatt Hotel, to the Voco Hotel, a small distance for a stroll, but a marathon for most wheelchair users. I say “us” because I was accompanied by a designated wheelchair pusher and a camera team. And a security vehicle.

The journey could not even begin on our pavements (sidewalks for Americans). We started on the road and most of the way we were obliged to use the road. The pavements were in good nick in places but just not accessible because there were no ramps.

Then there were a few ugly obstacles in the paving on the pavements. There were no street side parking spots for vehicles permitted to use them anywhere, which makes getting in and out of vehicles a problem when one needs the wheelchair to be alongside the vehicle to transfer.

It certainly isn’t a wheelchair-user’s paradise, but if one is able to negotiate one’s way down streets it is possible to move around, although not in complete safety. For multiple disability wheelchair users like me (I have visual impairment as well) this journey would have been impossible without assistance.

In South Africa most wheel chair users do not have access to private transport, and trips to major commercial hubs like Rosebank may involve stretches of public road use between two venues, or simply between public transport and the venue or mall. We call upon everyone concerned, but particularly the City, to ensure we, wheelchair users, can access the places we need to go.”

  • The Rosebank management District would like to express its gratitude to Moira De Swardt for being willing to participate in efforts to improve the district, and for highlighting accessibility issues that need further attention.

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