Disability supplies store in dispute with Tallinn over accessibility | News

Enn Leinuste created 17 years ago Invaru, a store of assistance and care equipment for people with reduced mobility, in a building specially chosen because it had a wide sidewalk in front, leaving people with reduced mobility about 10 m space to move.

Customers using wheelchairs and crutches could also drive to the front door of the store, which made shopping much easier. There are also tram and bus stops nearby which was essential in choosing the location of Peterburi tee 14a.

In June, however, the city of Tallinn unexpectedly blocked access to the store by installing barriers and planters.

Road conditions near Peterburi tee 14, home to the Invaru disabled supply store (left), before physical barriers were installed. Source: private collection
The physical barriers installed near tee 14 at Peterburi last summer. Source: private collection

Invaru tried to contact Tallinn to make sure their customers had access to the store, but the city’s first recommendation was that the store move to a gym across the street.

“First of all, there were no rooms available,” said Enn Leinuste. “Second, what they had was workspaces, there was a cabinet and hallway system. Also, the building has a high staircase, but accessibility is important to us. a slope of 15 meters long. There is also the question of parking, as the buses pass there from time to time. I politely responded to the city and told them that would not do the trick. “

The Lasnamäe district government then offered customers parking on a city property near the Peterburi departure building with special locations marked for the store. Now, six months later, there is a disabled parking spot and a spot, which requires a parking clock, but that’s not exclusive to Invaru customers.

The disabled space is also not in a comfortable or safe place for customers. It is not possible for people to walk right on the sidewalk from the car, they have to cross a parking lot first, which can be dangerous for everyone, not just for people with reduced mobility. In addition, the parking space is not too visible under a layer of snow and since the city did not do a very good job of keeping the place clean, the store asked the city government to clean the place for the disabled. snow several times.

During snow removal this year, the City discovered that a snow tractor cannot access the facade of the building. The planters were partly dismantled, but cars were still not allowed access to the storefront.

The state of the road near Peterburi tee 14, which is home to the Invaru disabled supply store. Source: private collection

The new situation has angered Invaru customers, who direct their anger at the store, which has not had a say in the new traffic organization, causing trouble for more than six years. month. “We met with the acting mayor of the district and representatives of the transport administration in early July. The transport administration said it saw no problem with the new organization and that customers did not have to drive to the front door as it is a pedestrian area. . “said Leinuste.

It was also told on several occasions that there could not be special parking spaces for Invaru customers, since it is a private company. City officials also noted that accessibility for people with reduced mobility isn’t much better elsewhere, so why should it be improved there. Leinuste considers this illogical.

The former mayor of Lasnamäe district and current deputy mayor of Tallinn, Vladimir Svet (center), promised Leinuste in the fall that the issue would be dealt with and that a roundtable would be organized, but this was forgotten when local elections were held and Svet became deputy mayor. The city has not provided new solutions.

The state of the roads near tee 14 at Peterburi, which is home to the Invaru disabled supply store. Source: private collection

Svet: Improving safety was the main goal

The current deputy mayor of Tallinn, Vladimir Svet, said barriers and planters have been moved to the sidewalk to make it more comfortable and safer for pedestrians.

“We also took care of blocking illegal parking on the sidewalks,” noted the deputy mayor. “One of those places where cars traveled and parked on the sidewalks was Peterburi tee 14. Pedestrians using this sidewalk repeatedly told us that moving and between parked and moving cars is dangerous. Traffic code clearly states that there is no driving or parking permitted on sidewalks. And since this rule has been ignored at this location for years, we have placed planters and barriers to prevent parking. and driving. “

Svet said there were other shops operating in the Peterburi tee 14 building and their customers have also become accustomed to driving straight to the front doors.

He noted that the city provided Invaru with a disabled spot in the parking lot further away from the building. “The store’s customers were still having issues with this solution, so we started to reorganize ourselves so that Invaru’s customers could access the store without a dangerous situation for customers and other pedestrians,” said said Svet.

Leinuste said there had been no dangerous traffic incidents in the 17 years that Invaru had occupied part of the building. He disagreed with Svet’s assessments that the area was not safe for pedestrians.

Invaru proposed that the facade of the building be designated as “calm traffic zone“, which would limit traffic speeds and regulate pedestrian privilege. Among other solutions, parking could have been made exclusive to Invaru customers with an information board.

“We assume that people are generally law abiding. You should not handcuff the other 95 if five people are wrong, there are other penalties. But alas, this solution was not approved either,” he said. declared Lennuste.

Svet said a “calm traffic zone” has its own issues. “Creating a ‘quiet traffic zone’ next to a main road would endanger less protected pedestrians, as it is not safe to maneuver in an area with reduced visibility. In addition, parking and maneuvering would also hamper the smooth flow of pedestrians and cyclists. The problem is not only vehicles of people with reduced mobility, but all other vehicles that could access the area, “said the deputy mayor.

He did, however, confirm that the city was ready to offer Invaru a new solution next week. “We plan to present the management of the Invaru store with a solution that would see the facade of their store rebuilt to create wider parking spaces a few meters away. If our proposal to create new places for people with disabilities works for Invaru, we will try to achieve it as soon as possible, ”said Svet.

The state of the road near Peterburi tee 14, which is home to the Invaru disabled supply store. Source: private collection

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