Students from Dr. Brian Lee’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Design Class were given the opportunity to experience how bike and pedestrian design affects those who are in wheelchairs. This experience is designed to give students perspective into how all of the users of sidewalks, roadways, and other transportation systems are affected by the design.
The class was handed maps and told to follow various routes around Burlington and to document what they experience along the way. Dr. Lee suggested students try crossing the street and see if the cross walks provide enough time to safely cross. He also wanted students to look at and experience the transit infrastructure and see how difficult it could be for someone in a wheel chair to get on to a bus or if they could fit under the canopies that protect waiting riders.
The students were very excited to try their hand at using wheelchairs and see if current designs meet the needs of those who uses these routes every day. With a final word from Dr. Lee about being safe and taking turns, the students were off to see the world in a new way and perhaps gain some insight into how they can make things better in the future.