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Accessibility audit of exterior paths of York University Keele Campus

Accessibility audit of exterior paths of York University Keele Campus

by Ashik Amin

Audited area in pink.

The research was done as part of ENVS 6128, Urban Transportation Planning in the Winter 2023 semester. Dr. Mahtot Gebresselassie was the course director. The aim of the study was to examine disability accessibility on York University's Keele campus. This summary highlights some of our findings. Our group focused on crosswalk curbs and surface material and evenness. 

The team audited an area of the York University's Keele Campus bounded by Fine Arts Road and Library Lane to the south, Campus Walk to the west, and Ian Macdonald Boulevard to the north and east. It is a heavily trafficked area which includes the York University TTC subway north and south entrances, located along the eastern boundaries of the audited area, with over 38,000 trips per weekday recorded in 2019 (pre-pandemic).

We used the Toronto Accessibility Design Guidelines (TADG) document as a reference to conduct the accessibility audit and utilised a laser distance measuring tool and digital angle gauge/protractor for accuracy with measurements. Our team found several features of non-compliance with the accessibility guidelines along the exterior paths of travel in the study area, including interlocking paving stones used as ground surface material along the walkways. The image above shows Library Lane from the South Side of Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts. Image below shows York Boulevard at the East Side of Vari Hall.

Our team determined this material was an obstacle to the accessibility of the exterior pathway.

We found areas of upheaval from cycles of frost and thaw, parts that were not level, firm, or stable, and a busy tactile design on the surface.

We found that crosswalk curbs near the Kaneff Tower andthe TTC Subway Station met the accessibility requirements (section 1.1.6 of TADG). However, crosswalk curbs from across these locations did not meet these requirements as they did not provide a level and smooth ground surface to reduce the risk of tripping hazards or potential discomfort experienced by persons with limited mobility, persons using mobility devices or a white cane (section 1.1.1 of TADG). 

Image above shows the curb of the cross walk to York University subway station at York Boulevard and Ian Macdonald Boulevard (south west corner).

To address the deficiencies identified from our accessibility audit, we recommend the following improvements for the study area using the Toronto Design Accessibility Guidelines as a reference:

-Installing improved sensory indicators along with curb cuts and accessible ramps for pedestrian crossing.

-Using smooth material or large interlocking paving stones for ground material.

-Implementing tactile attention & direction indicators as per guidelines.

-Regular maintenance and servicing of exterior paths, snow removal, and use of sand to increase slip resistance.


Group E Members

Ashik Amin is entering the second year of his MES in Planning degree specialising in Urban & Regional Planning.

David Tran is an EIT and a MASc student in Transportation Engineering with a passion for active transportation and sustainable transportation planning.

Michael Capicotto is currently pursuing a MES in Planning with a specialization in Transportation.

Destiny Laldeo is a student in the MES Planning at York University. She has broad interests in urban regional land use planning, environmental planning, and transportation planning.

Bilqees Yousuf is currently an EIT and MASc student in Transportation Engineering, with a passion for road safety.