Barrier-free environment discussed at city Two Sessions

Zhu Yuting
A regulation draft has been submitted to the city's legislature.
Zhu Yuting

Shanghai is planning to speed up the construction of a barrier-free environment, and a regulation draft has been submitted to the city's legislature for discussion during the ongoing Two Sessions.

"The draft highlights the city's care for the disabled, the elderly and other citizens with barrier-free needs to enjoy a convenient social life," said Xu Jia, a deputy from Yangpu District.

Shanghai began building a barrier-free environment in the 1980s, involving major streets and new buildings.

The city released its first regulation on barrier-free facilities in 2003, and revised it in June 2021. It has given attention to upgrading and expanding streets, public buildings, public transport facilities and residential complexes, according to Chen Jing, deputy chief of the Shanghai People's Congress Committee.

However, the existing facilities still do not completely meet the demands of all individuals.

For example, sidewalks for the blind in the downtown are always occupied by electric bikes and shared bikes. And some of them are too narrow to let wheelchairs pass through.

"Some sidewalks have slopes, while others don't," said deputy Wang Huimin during a panel discussion.

The draft includes 82 rules in eight chapters, bringing barrier-free facilities into the city's grid management, increasing the accessibility of facilities on all aspects of the basic necessities of life, including priority for public transport, hospitals, public venues, roads, livelihood, communication and education.

Some legislators said the city should make laws catered to people with disabilities.

"We should hear about what they really need," said Shan Shaojun, a deputy from the Pudong New Area.

Moreover, the daft also encourages local postal and delivery enterprises to provide door-to-door services for the disabled and the elderly.

Deputy Mao Fang, vice president of Meituan, suggested adapting food delivery services for people with disabilities.

"With the society developing so fast, services such as food delivery and medicine delivery are becoming more and more important for the elderly and the disabled," said Mao.

Special Reports