Sefton Plaza Accessibility

a large sign showing a few of the shops in the centre, a car park behind it with about 30 cars in it, and further back is the shopping centre - Sefton Plaza Accessibility
Sefton Park Shopping Centre entrance (courtesy of Angaet Property Management)

Sefton Plaza Accessibility – Intro

a map showing the location of the shops - Sefton Plaza Accessibility
Sefton Park Shopping Centre directory (courtesy of Angaet Property Management)

One of the two shopping centres near my home is the Sefton Plaza Shopping Centre. It takes me four minutes via my powered wheelchair to travel the 750 metres. This blog is all about Sefton Plaza accessibility in a wheelchair.

The goal is to contact shopping centre management, share the accessibility issues and the access will improve over time.

I regularly visit Target, Foodland, Best & Less, the Jam & Savoury Bakehouse and Barnacle Bills. The bakery has the best potato pies and iced coffees in Adelaide.

Sefton Plaza Accessibility – Accessible bathroom

a corridor leads to the accessible toilet, blue light coming under the door, door is adjacent to the womens toiletAs I approached the door, I noticed a dark blue light under the door. Why can’t the lighting be similar to the other bathrooms, and be brighter? The other issue pertained to the narrow corridor leading to the accessible bathroom. A few women had to wait for me to open the door until they exited their bathroom, and a woman was behind me when I opened the accessible bathroom door. Not everyone in a wheelchair can open a door while moving backwards.

The image below is a panorama showing the layout, which is too tight for a wheelchair to maneuver. I couldn’t rotate on the one spot, without my controller hitting the washbasin. As with many accessible bathrooms, the area is shared with a baby change table. When I entered the room, the table was open, and not everyone in a wheelchair can close a baby change table.

so much blue showing. left to right - change table, 3 bins, toilet, hand rail and paper dispenser on wall, then hand basin and mirror too. thg

its all blue, hand basin left, hand dryer in middle then the door to the right

The hand dryer was located in a corner, and many people in wheelchairs will not be able to reach it. I leaned over and could only dry one hand at a time, and it is best to rub hands together.

The solutions

  • relocate the accessible bathroom to avoid the problems accessing the door
  • the bathroom to be larger and allow easy movements and access to all items
  • bright white lighting

Sefton Plaza Accessibility – Entrance to individual stores

a a frame sign out the front, a huge sign above the door, lots of glass windows, and a double door. It is the cafe bakehouse. Sefton Plaza AccessibilitySubway, Barnacle Bills, and the Jam & Savoury Bakehouse are next to each other and face Main North Road. Only the bakery provides easy access for people in wheelchairs, as it has an automatic double sliding door.

Barnacle Bills glass windows on the left, the door to the right. Pavers lead to the business and a bush to the leftI found it difficult to enter the seafood restaurant, as I need to move up the ramp, open the door with my free hand, and control the wheelchair with my right hand. Fortunately, I have good upper body strength, and often the staff members open the door. Someone using a manual wheelchair and going up the ramp will not be able to open the door. A left-handed person in a powered chair may have difficulties. An automated door is required.

empty tables and chairs are outside subway, a double glass door on the left, and a window to the rightThe sandwich restaurant has a double door, and each door is narrower than the single door at Barnacle Bills. I struggled to get my powered chair in Subway, and the majority of manual chairs are wider than those powered. How? A manual chair has the wheels to the side, as compared to the wheels being located under the person in a powered chair. Once inside Subway, the clients are herded with the use of rails to ensure they don’t get out of order and it makes life difficult for people using wheelchairs.

The solution

  • Barnacle Bills – automated door
  • Subway – automated door and the inside rails to allow more room for people using mobility devices.

Sefton Plaza Accessibility – Access from shops to the main car park

Although the photograph may not highlight the danger, the angle from the walkway to the car park is too steep. A person in a wheelchair may fall forward onto the car park. The access point is dangerous for wheelchair users that are wanting to go around the corner, as someone could fall sideways.

Solution – remove the ramp

left is the wall of a shop, and to the right is the carpark. Around the shop is a concrete path, and a step exit from footpath to the car park. sefton plaza accessibility

 The rear car park

Just behind Target, the surface of the car park resembles a patchwork quilt. The quilt, as well as the rest of the surface, is bumpy, and uncomfortable when using a wheelchair.

the car park is a patchwork quilt, with many patches over a long time. The background has a yellow car to the left and a black vehicle on the right. Sefton Plaza accessibility

To get home, I need to travel over the patchwork quilt and bumpy rear car park or take a short cut as shown in the photo below. Often cars block wheelchair access to the other car park.

The photo below shows the car park that I would access if no cars are blocking my path. There are a number of accessible car parks located here, which seem to be in the wrong location. There are no shops nearby. The shops that are a few hundred metres away, can’t be reached if cars are blocking the thoroughfare between the 2 car parks.

The solutions

  • resurface the rear car park
  • remove one car park to allow wheelchair access through the two car parks
  • relocate the accessible car parks and place them near the shops

The rooftop car park exit

Cars exit the rooftop parking and may present problems for pedestrians and other vehicles. As a car park is a private area, vehicles should be giving way to pedestrians.  The exit ramp leads to a blind corner, and I regularly came around this corner.

Solution – use speed bumps and/or a stop sign for vehicles travelling from the rooftop

The rooftop car parking

There are two accessible parks, one located next to the lifts, and the other one is distant.

The Solution – all accessible parks should be close to the shops, or in this case, the lift

Sefton Plaza Accessibility – final thoughts

When PWD (people with disabilities) experience problems or notice them, hopefully, communication with the business, or managers, can bring about change.

Sefton Plaza is managed by Angaet Property Management, and I emailed the property manager on Thursday, March 4, 2021. I am hoping to hear from them soon about the accessibility and safety issues. And they responded positively within a week.

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