Skip to Content

AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Problems with a hallway in a gym

My gym has tables and chairs on both sides of a long hall that has the disabled locker room at the end of it. I've been barely coping with this hall and now they've gone and added more chairs and tables. This means that I have to walk along a wall that has outward opening doors. Not to mention that I have to zig-zag through the hall from one side to another several times to try to avoid all the tables and chairs and whatever else (easels, random tables) they decide to put in the hall that week.

I've asked them nicely and patiently to move the new set of 3 tables + 4 chairs each over to the other wall where they would just fit fine but I'm getting the run-around.

Any ideas on how to handle this when they eventually refuse to do anything about it? This hallway is becoming dangerous and already was the toughest place that I have to walk through before they made it worse. Getting around a crowded gym with machines and free weights is far easier than this hellish hallway. I'm using a roller white cane.

There are currently 5 replies

Sort Replies Oldest to Newest

Re: Problems with a hallway in a gym

" I mean, the chairs are unlikely to fall on you.."

Chair fell on me today. They were painting, so they moved all of the contents of the offices into the hallway. Nobody bothered to inform me. Folding metal chair must've been leaning up against something. I got my cane caught up in the legs, and it actually did fall on me. Hit my wrist and landed on my foot / ankle. I'm tough, I'll survive but it actually did happen.

Re: Problems with a hallway in a gym

Thanks for the response. I was really hoping that this didn't have to come to some sort of paper trail that is only really useful after an incident. I suppose that I could forward the info the someone at a higher level in the organization that just the building manager but I've tried stuff like that in the past with no results. To date, I have spoken with about 6 people including the top 2 managers in the building.

I have also thought of making a video. Again, could forward up the chain of command but not likely to make a difference. I could try to bring other attention to it, through internet or media but here's the thing: I'm on a discounted program that cuts my membership in half so I can barely afford it. This gets approved every 6 months or yearly. If I make too much noise, they can very well cancel my discount thus making membership unaffordable.

The only other options that I can think of are to go in there fairly late at night when there's a skeleton crew on and simply move around the furniture myself. Just one thing at a time, wait a week or two and maybe something else. Not far, just a little more out of the way and hope that it doesn't get noticed.

I could also try to use the non-disabled locker room. It isn't quite as far down the hall, though it adds more blind corners and a different set of slightly dangerous situations. This kinda creeps me out, as I don't want to be wandering around a locker room with less than fully clothed people, very possibly elderly.

thinking out loud

Please take my previous ideas as a way of thinking out loud about a situation. Thanks for letting us know more about the specifics. Good luck.
I hope others have feedback for you.
This certainly sounds messy.
I am sure you make your requests in writing, using email or some other trackable means if possible. That gives you a paper trail. The idea of videoing the experience comes from the same sense of needing evidence.
As to what else you can do, I'm not sure. I'm not a lawyer, by the way. Of course you are asking the specific people in the organization who can authorize the changes. That goes without saying.
Again, best wishes.

Re: Problems with a hallway in a gym

I'm sorry if I didn't clarify this. This is not a school gym. This is a public gym with a weight room, pool, aerobic, and yoga classes. I am very much an adult.

Here are the unsafe conditions. Solid doors that open out into the hall. Water fountain that leaks onto the floor (usually no wet floor sign or put on the wrong side of the water spill). Children running full speed through the hallway. Occasionally the hallway is so full of people that is it extremely difficult to get through. People walk out from blind corners and into the hallway with no way to see if I'm coming, several of which I have collided into. All things in the hallway change without notice - both position and content. This includes things that are above waist height and cane height that can stick out into the hallway in any random spot that they decide that day to put it.

I have been going to this gym for 6 years. I know the hallway. I've had plenty of practice. It was dangerous and I coped with it. I let the staff and management know exactly why it is dangerous and difficult for blind people to get through this area and they don't disagree. They simply refuse to do anything about it. It is getting more and more difficult by the day. I asked for assistance making it easier, they listened to my ideas then went about making it worse.

Today: Have to cross from one wall to another. Found crossing spot, checked surroundings, started to cross. Kid comes running full speed from behind me and I didn't notice until I had almost knocked the kid down. Must've been inches. I think he had to jump over my cane. He didn't have room to move around because of tight hallway with chairs on both sides.

Also today: Front desk. They decide to put large lounge chairs about 2.5 ft from the front desk - the only route into and out of the gym. People are always standing at the front desk, checking in, filling out applications, etc... I know this and account for it. Except today, where I'm trying to squeeze through this small space that is suddenly affecting me with people that aren't paying attention, possibly with kids that have no idea what a blind person is. ADA is 3ft clearance in walkways, right?

Yes, I could look at this as a wonderful learning experience and a chance to show myself how I can overcome obstacles and become a more optimistic and confident person. I came within 1 second of whacking a 20 month old in the face last week. Why? Because I was paying full attention to getting through this bizarrely maze-like hallway and not to paying attention to the location and vectors of the people around me. Not that I'm not constantly trying to locate people and their vectors, because I definitely am. That is scary, dangerous, and in no way builds self-esteem.

I currently have zero access to a mobility trainer with zero percent chance of obtaining mobility assistance, although I have been through weeks of mobility training. In the past, when necessary, I have walked 5 miles through my city, crossing 6 lane roads with double turn lanes. My mobility is fine and doesn't require "honing".

I have no family to assist me in this. No friends that are going to try to talk some sense into a manager. No local 'blind assistance program' is available to me. There is no other local gym within a tolerable walking distance (it is already 1.1 miles from my house) and I have fought years with the city and state to make sure that there are audio crossing signals available on my path.

Oh, and the disabled locker room is at the end of the hall because that's just the way that the building is designed. Poor design. Not likely to change at all.

I ask again to jadwiga and anyone else: What can I do to make this hallway a safer place with a management that has fully demonstrated that it is not willing to provide the slightest assistance?

pesky hallway in a gym

No matter what you do, you will learn from how you handle this experience and how you think about the people around you.
First, I am going to make a few assumptions.
You have the good sense to use a cane and probably got good training which, again, shows you are capable and willing to be responsible for your own well-being.
Let's assume you are relatively safe in the hallway you describe. I mean, the chairs are unlikely to fall on you and you can navigate the hallway if you do it carefully and consciously using your cane.
If you are actually profoundly unsafe, what I say next will not apply.
If you are being inconvenienced rather than actually being put into a dangerous environment, you may want to use the situation to become more conscious and more capable when using mobility skills.
If you have a mobility instructor, you two may want to use the hall as an area in which you can practice.
you can use navigating the hall as a way of improving your cane skills at lots of levels. The contents of the hall changes and so you will need to stay alert. You can take as much time navigating safely as you need.
You wil develop cane travel skills in a relatively safe environment. No traffic. No interference from other human beings.
This skill will serve you well when you later use your cane on sidewalks in the outside world.
On the streets, believe me, people will interfere with you. Their intentions may be oh so noble, but interfere they will.
For now, you can stay centered and learn to navigate objects.
If you feel like it, maybe somebody can video your practicing sessions.
You may want to take several videos, a week or a month apart. You can decide if you want to share them with teachers and school administrators. You may accompany them with a letter explaining how you used the situation as an opportunity to hone your mobility skills.
Anyhow, you have several options here.
By the time you have waited a bit and made those videos, you and your family will be able to decide whether getting staff to move furniture is a cause worth struggling for or one of life's little annoyances.
You are in a school setting and, for some reason, disabled students have a separate locker area. Why is this, by the way?
I mean, what does separating you out accomplish for you, other students, or the school system?
Good luck to you whatever you do.

Log in to Post a Reply