Debate over Riford Center ADA access continues

The proposed side entrance at The Riford Center has neighbors up in arms. Photo: Dave Schwab
The proposed side entrance at The Riford Center has neighbors up in arms. Photo: Dave Schwab

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

Mary Coakley and architect Don Goertz outlined a counterproposal to put disabled access in front of the Riford Center rather than on the building’s side — which neighbors have objected to — at the Planned District Ordinance (PDO) Committee’s meeting on Monday

“We’d like to put a ramp up in the front of the building to discourage people from parking on the side and walking all the way around to the front,” said Goertz.

Coakley said putting disabled access at the entry at 6811 La Jolla Boulevard avoids “treating the disabled as second-class citizens” by allowing them to go through the same entrance as everyone else.

Architect Don Hodges, a Riford board member, said the center's application to the city to place disabled access on the side along Bonair is not irreversible.

“The board is amenable to any suggestion that would make the neighbors happy and achieves accessibility,” he said.

Several Riford neighbors turned out to hear the information-only item before the PDO committee.

At the end of March 2010, The Riford Center, an adult community center managed by the nonprofit Friends of the Riford Center, announced it had abandoned preliminary plans to relocate disabled access from the building’s front to the side.

But six months later, after reevaluating all possible ADA design alternatives, the center’s board reconsidered that position noting, “While it would be desirable to use the main entrance as the single entrance/exit for elderly and disabled we found (this) the only feasible alternative that falls within the budget, meets legal requirements, satisfies safety concerns and respects the dignity of elderly and disabled persons.”

   
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