Last week I attended one of the most transcendent cultural experiences I have had in a long time, the Russian Ballet Theatre production of Swan Lake at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Although I’m not a fan of ballet, it was a treat to see probably some of the finest ballet artists in the world. This is probably as good as it gets.
As I was finding my seat I cast my eyes around the huge concert hall and noticed as various people of varying degrees of physical ability made their way to the seats.
If you watch such activities with an eye towards how much trouble that people who have difficulty walking have you will be struck by the fact that there are many, many places in the Center’s main hall that could use rails to help people get around, especially up and down stairs.
Rails could, it seems to me, be added down the center of several key aisles that could assist people in getting to their seats.
It is obvious that a large percentage, maybe even a majority of the audience of many of the performances at the Center are older than 65, and many are considerably older. You don’t have to look very far to see people with canes, being assisted in maintaining their balance by loved ones or friends.
This is the 25th year of the Center. It would seem to be an appropriate time to add some features that would assist a population that is only getting older. While we don’t think anything about making the changes needed to help people in wheelchairs, we should also consider that many, many people need that added security that only solid, dependable railing provides.
I was talking to a member of the CCAE board at a recent fundraiser. She casually mentioned that she doesn’t use stairs anymore that don’t have hand rails. And let’s face it, there are many stairs as well as ramps around the city that don’t have rails, and which make life just a little bit harder for people who could use them.
An example is the ramp that leads up to the U.S. Post Office on Escondido Boulevard, across the street from the civic center. I’m sure others could provide examples of public or even well-traveled private buildings that could be made safer by the addition of a railing.
Sooner or later just about all of us will benefit from the addition of such railings, just as sooner or later all of us will need to use a handicapped parking space. It’s just a matter of time.