Now that the medals have been awarded and the athletes have returned from Beijing, it’s time to take a look at accessibility in the city in these post Paralympic times. Did the games actually improve the accessibility of the infrastructure and tourist facilities, or was it just a temporary fix for the event?
From the reports I’m getting, it appears there is a real improvement. Bear in mind that Beijing was not exactly the most accessible city before the games, so even with improvements there will still be some obstacles for wheelers and slow walkers. Still, things seem to be moving in the right direction.
According to the Beijing Tourism Commission, more than 120 Beijing hotels were remodeled to accommodate disabled guests for the recent Olympic games.
The subway system was also upgraded to include at least one accessible entrance at each Beijing station.
And last but not least the most famous part of the Great Wall (Badaling) now boasts two lifts and a wheelchair ramp. So everyone can access this world wonder.
Will the accessibility improvements continue? Well if Tang Xiaoquan, executive vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, has her way it will. Says Xiaoquan, “In order to allow the handicapped to lead a normal life and enjoy the fruits of social development as the able bodied persons, we need to continue the construction of disabled-access facilities.”
Sounds like a good plan to me. Let’s hope she has some pull with the post Paralympic developers.