covered walkway ramp up onto train platform

The little engine that can’t

Once in a while you find some public infrastructure so repugnant it simply defies belief, Richmond Station just outside the city is one of those situations. The footway beneath the railway line allows free passage under the tracks without needing a ticket but without any obvious reasoning during off peak hours one end of the tunnel has its ticket gates blocked off and requires passengers to detour 100m to the other end of the tunnel to enter through the only open gates to the platforms. Once inside the ticketed area passengers travel up the long ramps pictured to reach the platforms.

covered walkway ramp up onto train platform

As noted by the operators website there are no escalators or lifts, the ramps are a generic asphalt surface with sufficient grip even in the wet, their slope however is deceptively steep and only noticeable once underway up toward the platform. Here some quick squares are overlaid to the image to make an estimate of the slope:

measurement of ramp slope to be greater than 1 in 7

With the roof parallel to the ramp it can be seen that the slope is steeper than 1 in 7, and completely afoul of the federal Disability Discrimination Act requiring safe access for all users. Having personally encountered a wheelchair user struggling on one of these ramps, they were very appreciative when asked if they wanted some assistance. Although we do not have access to the referenced standard AS1428 excerpts can be found in other documents and standards, with the Guide to Road Design revealing this rather clear message:

A gradient of 1:10 should not be exceeded if possible as wheelchairs may tip backwards when being wheeled up steep ramps. Note that this gradient is less than the maximum of 1:8 quoted in AS 1428.1- 1993, which should be considered as an absolute maximum ramp gradient and only be used in extenuating circumstances

So congratulations to Public Transport Victoria for operating a station where on the only route in and out of the facility wheelchair users are at risk of toppling over backwards, truly a new height of awful public infrastructure.

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