Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How Do You Say ADA in Italian?

I like just about everything about Italy as a place (the street scene, public transit, walkability, number of retail stores of all kinds everywhere) except one thing: It's physically accessible only to people who are pretty able-bodied.

All of those beautiful but bumpy cobblestone streets and irregular curbs, not to mention the stairs on some of the covered sidewalks of Bologna, must be a nightmare for anyone who's blind or even a bit unsure of their balance.

But this sight, from the Milan airport, is probably the most outrageous thing I saw on this topic:

American airports are no prize, but I think we all know that if you've got a broken ankle (as I had a little while ago) or are elderly or just need help traversing the huge distances inside the building for any reason, you can get help from the door (or at least ticket counter) to your gate. Whether it's in one of the zippy electric carts or just being pushed in a wheelchair, the airlines get you there and it works incredibly well, in my experience.

I don't remember seeing a single person being moved around the airports I used during my recent trip (through Rome on the way in and Milan on the way out).

Let me start by saying the Milan airport is laid out in the most bizarre fashion I've ever seen. It's like your small intestine, with a path that crosses back and forth across the whole terminal multiple times before you finally reach the gate.

The photo above was taken somewhere around halfway through that lengthy bit of walking. We had already covered about two miles, I think. And suddenly, there they were: mobility scooters. For rent at 10 euros (marked down from 16!).

I guess the idea is that the person who rents one is worn out by this point and has no choice but to pay for some wheels, but jeez, Milan. Cheap much?

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