In the wild, often wonderful world of Reddit, there’s a subreddit page titled Maybe Maybe Maybe that shares a stream of videos, which ALL must be titled Maybe Maybe Maybe, showing gifs of situations such as people narrowly escaping collisions with vehicles (or not), nailing that dramatic gymnastics trick (or not) and, of course, plenty of situations cats, dogs and other animals get themselves into. Occasionally, vertical transportation is involved, such as this one in which a cat makes it way down — but not all the way down — an upward-moving escalator. As is often the case with Reddit, the best parts are in the Comments. On this one, one commenter cleverly remarked, “Some say he’s still there,” presumably continuously trying to reach his destination. It also includes remarks about pets and elevator/escalator safety, pointing out that cats and dogs should be carried on escalators, if they are on them at all. Let’s hope this little guy (or gal) made it out of this situation OK!
Building owners and designers may not always think first about accessibility issues, but the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) has been the law of the land for 30 years now, so there’s little excuse for a building being out of compliance. Some may think that simply adding an elevator will circumvent legal problems, but as any vertical-transportation manufacturer, consultant or contractor will tell you, the elevator itself has to meet minimum standards to be within the law. Need a ballpark idea of what’s involved? The folks at interior+sources have stepped up to offer some of the ADA’s elevator basics. The online magazine’s January 9, 2020, article opens by noting which kinds of buildings are exempt, but they fall within a fairly narrow set of circumstances. Assuming your building isn’t exempt, the requirements state that:
- The elevator must be easily accessible in a public space (instead of, for example, a cramped hallway)
- Doors must remain fully open for at least three seconds
- Call buttons are a minimum of 0.75 inches in diameter
- Button heights must be centered 42 inches from the floor
- Car must be at least 51 inches deep and at least 68 inches wide
- Door width must be at least 36 inches
- Braille must be below or next to floor numbers on the control panel
- Automatic verbal announcement of stop or non-verbal audible signal of passed floors and stops must be used
- Two-way communication must be available in elevator cabs that deaf/blind users can use
- Emergency controls must be grouped at the bottom of the elevator control panel and have their centerlines no less than 35 inches above the finish floor
This is just the start, however. For more information, you should visit the government website that lists the ADA standards.
By coincidence, one of the most high-profile projects in the U.S. — Hudson Yards, in NYC — is at the center of an ADA complaint, a number of news sources, including Curbed New York, reported in December 2019. At issue is access to the many viewing platforms of Vessel, an interactive sculpture within the megadevelopment. Though an innovative and highly complex elevator system was installed (an ELEVATOR WORLD Project of the Year 2020 winner, featured in EW’s January 2020 issue) federal prosecutors said it was inadequate under the standards set by the ADA. The remedy worked out between the government and the developer entails the installation of a platform lift (possibly two of them) and other measures.
Having read so much about its classic wooden escalators during my years at ELEVATOR WORLD, I finally got to visit the Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan on a recent trip there. Though I really didn’t think I’d be surprised, the beauty and durability of these marvels of vertical transportation gave me a new appreciation for what Otis did at the venerable store in the 1920s and 1930s — not to mention the hard work of keeping them running decade after decade.
Not only do they look nice (especially for their age!), as you can see above, they also sound surprisingly soothing. A pleasant repetition of “click-clack” resounds throughout the six or so floors, where one wooden escalator after another can be found. I was fortunate to be able to enjoy a few peaceful trips on my visit, since the store wasn’t as packed as it often is.
What a fun ride!