By Janet C. Harris
Bonair Street residentI was pleased to learn that the Friends of the Riford Center board will be including a ramp for people with disabilities in their plans for remodeling the front entrance — construction that will be funded by a federal grant aimed at making the building more navigable for people with disabilities.
This will indeed be a welcome addition because it will make the Riford Center a more inviting and user-friendly place for people with disabilities. And it is crucial to remember that any of us could quickly join the ranks of those with disabilities through sudden injury or illness. When the renovations are complete, everyone — those who are able-bodied as well as those with disabilities — will have access to the building through the same front entrance. Having access through the same entrance (not just an “equal” entrance) is an important point in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 — federal legislation designed to promote equity.
Therefore, I fail to understand the need for creation of a new entrance at the side of the building on Bonair Street. I have heard that this new entrance is needed for access to the building during construction at the front entrance. However, there is another existing entrance at the back of the building that is currently used by people with disabilities, and which could of course also be used by the able-bodied. It seems reasonable that this back entrance could serve as a temporary entrance for everyone during the construction.
It is a waste of taxpayer money to create a new entrance on Bonair Street. Furthermore, this new entrance has the potential to remain in operation once construction is completed, leading to greater congestion of both pedestrians and cars in the quiet Bonair Street residential neighborhood — a neighborhood that has been my family’s home for over 60 years.
I urge the Friends of the Riford Center board and all La Jolla and San Diego officials and agencies involved to revise the renovation plans to include only the existing front entrance and no new entrance at the side on Bonair Street.