Thursday, April 29, 2010

Accesible Rhododendrons

I decided to take the dog for a walk in Golden Gate Park before Maggie gets home from school. Once she is here time just slips away. Between the rain and the painters, it has been difficult to find any time before Maggie gets home; but I cannot let another day go by without getting him out and about. The painters finished the touch up stuff this morning and the sun is shining.

We wandered through Rhododendron Dell. If I was asked what flower makes me think of San Francisco, I would have to say Rhododendrons. My  mother has a huge bush in front of her house and many many other houses do as well. Not ours. We've tried, but we kill them over and over. It's a good thing, then, that we live so close to Rhododendron Dell. 

This part of the park has been undergoing renovation for months and months, but today we found the gate opened and in we went. There have been back ways to access it during construction, but I rarely did. Ten years ago and past this Dell was a spectacular place filled with rhododendron bushes. There were solid flowers of all colors for several acres. The trees and shrubs aged. When a huge storm hit several years ago a lot of them were wiped out, along with many trees that shaded the whole area. There are still a lot of Rhodos in there, but not like before. The workers have done a ton of work to allow it to return to its previous splendor. It will be fun watching to come back over the next few years; but even without the wall-to-wall flowers of yesteryear, it is still lovely back in there.

I was very happy to see how much work they did to make the whole area accessible to wheelchairs, too. Before it was unpaved paths, that worked all right when it was sunny and dry, but if it rained at all you could forget that whole area. Now it is not only paved but it is clearly marked with signs for wheelchairs including the degree of slope on the various paths. There is nothing worse than heading down a path or into an area and finding out it is a dead end for wheel chairs. Steep up or downgrades can effectively be a dead end so that information will be helpful to many. I do not really know what at 18% slope is, but I would figure it out pretty fast if it were too steep. Since there are loops to this area, you can easily find an alternate accessible path. I have never seen that information before and I think it is thoughtful and thorough to include it.

Not everyone will notice the accessibility and extra effort because it does not affect them and it blends in perfectly. Since I am always complaining about lack of accessibility, I thought it only fair to tip my hat when I see something working.

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