Equal access to Central Business District

Article image - Equal access to Central Business District A raised car park in the Naracoorte CBD

The Naracoorte Lucindale Council, via its Naracoorte Main Streets Access project, has delivered improved access to the Naracoorte Central Business District for people with a disability, particularly to the main streets of Smith and Ormerod. 

Previously, people with a disability would often avoid the CBD due to the struggle to get from the road to
the footpath.

The kerbs were significantly higher than the road and did not comply
with the Disability Discrimination Act and relevant Australian Standards.

Council initiated a Disability Access Working Group of people with a disability, carers and representatives from Community Health, aged care and Council.  

The group identified works that would be of most benefit to people with disability, conducted a community survey and face-to-face interviews focused on improving access in the CBD.  

A person-centred approach was taken, with the group spending a morning travelling with people with disabilities to gain an understanding of the barriers to independently and safely moving
around the CBD.  

The group collated the information and prioritised works that would have the greatest benefit and improve access.  

The Elected Members also took to the CBD in wheelchairs gaining an understanding of the needs of people with disabilities.  

The greatest impact has been the innovation of three raised carparks.  

As far as Council is aware, this is the first instance of the use of raised carparks in South Australia.  

As there is no Australian Standard relating to raised carparks Council designed and constructed the carparks to meet the height of the footpath creating a smooth transition from exiting vehicles and accessing the footpath.    

The raised car parks, as opposed to the previous individual access ramps, facilitate safe transition from a car to the footpath.  

Previously, people would be required to wheel past their car and on occasions another car to get to access the ramp, all the time fearing getting hit by a car or truck.  

One resident said, “With the raised carparks, people can access the footpath from the front or back of the car with confidence, they are so much safer to use.  

“The raised carparks have made such a massive difference to not just myself, but to anyone that can’t step up the kerb or struggled with the old access ramps. “From pulling into the raised car park, my wheelchair comes from the roof of my car to the ground at the driver’s door, I am able to get in my chair and navigate to the footpath with such ease, it doesn’t even feel like it’s ramped at all”.

The three raised car parks have been well received by members of the community.  

Another resident commented, “The new disabled parks are brilliant. I am amazed at the ease to get onto the footpath without drawing attention to myself. Job well done Disability Working Group.”

Naracoorte Councillor Craig McGuire said, “The Disability Working Group members have been very positive about the implementation of
the project.  

“I know of people who have not been able to access Smith Street who now can.  

“The improved pedestrian safety crossings have made it safer for all pedestrians and Council has had good feedback on this.”

The raised car parks were suggested by a former Elected Member and were investigated by Council officers and the Disability Working Group.