Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Is Seal Beach´s pier for handicapped?

Seal Beach´s pier. California. 

I love Seal Beach. The beach, the houses, are clean, neat and beautiful, Main st didn´t change along the years, but it´s nice to walk and go to the restaurants. The city also has the Leos Club they make community work, it´s a great organization for young people who are always helping. Congratulations! 
Fish fry day! Thank you Lions!

But, since the first time I´ve been there, March 2004, I´ve always been upset about the bad conditions inside the pier´s public bathrooms. They were so dirty and abandoned, that in 2004 I´ve sent an email to a planner (maybe the director of planning, I should check my old emails)  telling him about this situation.
He apologized and said the bathrooms were under a restaurant´s concession. He never mentioned which one was in charge. Maybe Ruby´s? The great obstacle at the end of Huntington Beach and Seal Beach piers? The one that blocks the end of them? I don´t know.
Anyway, I came back in 2006 with friends. Our girls wanted to go to the bathrooms, we had to tell them to suffer and wait, we would be coming back home. There was a door missing, excrement and urine everywhere, underwear on the floor (nobody would dare to take it again), flies everywhere. While submitting plans at the City Hall, I talked to Building and Safety´s supervisor. This time, I was told that they would go and check. I told my husband and friends, if we go to the beach, we are going to Huntington Beach, not here, that´s nasty.
I came back today, early, as we were in the area. It was 8.30 AM, the bathrooms had been already washed. No disinfectant at all, pretty difficult to see in the pictures, but it was FULL of flies. The slab has cracks everywhere, while it´s an obligation from Health Department to have a continuous clean-floor surface, one toilet was clogged with a handwritten explanation of how to flush it on the wall , the handicap seat was in bad condition and nobody was there, but whoever cleaned it, left dirty papers on the floor. One sink wasn´t working. At least, they were painted and much better than some years ago, specially being so early.

This exterior door is not self closing

Then, I walked along the pier, and took a picture of the ramp that leads to Ruby´s handicapped door.
The wood is in bad condition, with missing parts, and there is a ¨step¨ to take the ramp. 
At the end of the ramp, no extension of handrail, see the condition of the handicap bathroom´s door. Hmm, I didn´t have my tape to measure the clearance, no hardware. I saw a girl kicking the door to enter. Same solution for the men´s.
See the handicap entrance, it´s not  a commercial door. No sign required per Building and Safety Code, no Braille, again, I didn´t have my tape to measure the clearances. Tempered glass in such an old door? Hmmm, not sure. By the way, the air curtain was poorly working, it was ¨dying¨. 
There are some cases where the handicap improvements in old buildings is really difficult. But here, at the pier, I don´t see it´s impossible. To level the ramp, change the deteriorated wood, add signs, clean, disinfect....
Now, the questions of the million dollars: Where are the inspectors? Is the hard City Council taking care of the pier´s conditions? Is Ruby´s so consolidated as a firm that they can do whatever they want, while any other new restaurants are under strict rules to be approved?

This sink is to wash fish. I really forgot to see if the drainage is well connected to the sewer, I don´t think the blood it´s draining directly to the sea, next time I´ll see.

Note: I´m the author of all pictures. They can´t be reproduced without my permission.

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