On May, 24th, we took part in “La Skarrozzata” in Bologna for combining the annual wheelchair tour with checking on the state of the Wheelmap, presenting our brand new app and encouraging the local groups to get involved with further mapping events.
On Saturday, 24th of May, Bologna was the site of a special event aimed at raising awareness for wheelchair accessibility. A group of about 250 people departed from the plaza near the main train station.
At 3:30 pm the Piazza XX Settembre began filling with people ready to take part in the annual La Skarrozzata, a wheelchair „walk“ through the the historic city center. Forty of them came in their wheelchairs; another fifty participants had the opportunity to use one of the sponsored wheelchairs for the duration of the tour. Like this, the barriers in Bologna became very real for them.
We joined the crowd on the Piazza XX Settembre with an own booth, informing the locals about Wheelmap and discussing further opportunities within the field of wheelchair accessibility in Bologna and Italy.
Luckily, our volunteers Felix and Alex were with us, explaining the functionalities of the Wheelmap in perfect Italian. For in Bologna, there is still a lot to do – for the wheelchair accessibility of the city and its visibility in the Wheelmap.
During the one-hour tour, the participants in wheelchairs and their walking companions encountered the numerous barriers in Bologna. Especially the wheelchair-newbies had their difficulties with the poorly lowered sidewalk curbs, bumpy cross-walks and stairs awaiting them on every corner. In addition, strength and speed were needed to manage the steep inclines of many roads.
Many markings and locations in Bologna are still lacking
On the cross-roads, our mobile ramps that we had brought along from Berlin, came in handy for the tour. We were wondering how people in a wheelchair could deal with the curbs in Bologna elsewise.
After the “Skarrozzata”, one of the ramps will be held available for activities in Bologna University; two more will stay in Bologna for similar mapping and wheelchair tours and the last two of the mobile ramps will travel through Italy for “Skarrozzata” events in other cities.
Looking at the current state of the map, it became obvious that many helping mappers will be necessary to define the wheelchair status of many locations. Furthermore, a lot of shops, cafés and restaurants are still completely missing. We found that on “Via dell’Indipendenza“, one of the shopping roads in Bologna, need to be added.
We’re counting on the commitment of the people in Bologna and our newly established contacts to get active for the Wheelmap. Forza, Bologna!
As a start, the goal of raising awareness for wheelchair accessibility might have been accomplished not only through the visibility of the big group of wheelchair users during “La Skarrozzata” in Bologna but also through the reports on Bologna Channel TV and La Repubblica. Have fun testing your Italian skills…