Time for a better Accessibility

The Accessibility Plus progamme is the first in Poland to make public spaces and places accessible to the disabled and the elderly as well as others with special needs, such as mothers with children and pregnant women. The details of the programme reveals Piotr Krasucki, director from the Ministry of Investment and Economic Development.

The programme requires changes to the legal system such as the introduction of legal standards of accessibility for specific types of buildings and developments, especially those that are open to the public or will be visited by a large number of people such as railway stations and bus stops. But the standards would also apply to busses trains and trams as well as government offices. The programme would also require 1,000 specific investments over the next eight years to improve accessibility for different groups of people, such as those in wheelchairs, the blind and the deaf. The programme will not only improve care centres, schools, and universities, but also public urban spaces. We are to renovate around 300 railway stations and buy more rolling stock. It is a very large investment and will require major legal changes. The programme has been designated PLN 23 bln until 2025.

"Of course, retail real estate is mostly private. So other than the standards set down by the construction law, it is the investor or manager of a property who decides how accessible it will be. What we want to do is work with the real estate sector as well as with architectural associations to create accessibility standards. Even if they are not mandatory, they could be voluntary suggestions for property owners. Because the population is ageing, we now already have 5 mln disabled in Poland. It is said that everyone was, is or will one day be disabled. It lies in the interest of managers for buildings to be accessible. The legal amendment will mainly concern buildings under construction. We also want to encourage managers of existing buildings with preferential financing to modernise, rebuild and make their buildings accessible," told us Piotr Krasucki, director from the Ministry of Investment and Economic Development, during ReDI fair in Warsaw.