Buildings without elevators get a lift

Jing'an plans to install 50 elevators in old residential buildings this year, the district government said this month.

Jing’an plans to install 50 elevators in old residential buildings this year, the district government said this month.

Many buildings of five to seven stories were built without elevators over the decades. As populations aged, having to navigate stairways impeded many frail senior citizens from going outside.

The city has embarked on a program to install elevators in these old buildings and provide subsidies to help residents defray the cost.

In 2012, Jing’an was a pioneer in the program, installing an elevator in an old residential building on Yan’an Road W. So far, 16 elevators have been installed in residential compounds.

One of them is the Xinfukangli complex on Xinzha Road.

The compound has numerous eight-floor buildings without elevators. The No. 96 building was the first to have an elevator installed last March.

“We proposed getting an elevator back in 2015, but it was too costly,” said Yu Lan, 70, who lives on the sixth floor.

She said the application process was too complicated, requiring visits to multiple departments, and there were long waiting times on application processing. Also, people living on the lower floors initially didn’t want an elevator because it was pretty useless to them.

“Luckily, the district government later simplified the process,” she said. “Neighborhood officials talked to all the residents numerous times, and eventually everyone agreed on the installation of an elevator.”

“More than 70 percent of us are aged over 60,” said Ye Jianhua, 65, who lives on the fifth floor. “It’s not easy for us to climb up and down stairs. Now, we are free to come and go.”

Bed-ridden Wang Fangxiang, 90, was “held hostage” in his home by the stairways. After the elevator was put into use, he was finally able to get outdoors for the first time in years.

Yu said volunteers have agreed to keep the elevator tidy.

“It’s the least we can do for such a great convenience,” she said.

“Our aim is to install more elevators,” said Lu Xiaodong, Party chief of the district. “We will further simplify the application and approval process and financially aid the projects.”

Some 12 million yuan (US$1.78 million) of district government funds have been allocated for installations of elevators.

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