In a world continually searching for that "one great idea," would you recognize it if you saw it?
Usually, once a brilliant idea is fleshed-out with full marketing pizzaz, we recognize the clever simplicity in the resulting "must have" product or service. A few people may say, "I thought of that a few years ago…" but they did not act on their inspiration the way that Luke Anderson and Michael Hopkins did.
Engineers Anderson and Hopkins wanted to eliminate barriers to entering buildings. Accessibility is often restricted by "we've always done it that way" building codes and construction standards. The design duo describe their inspiration as the "elevator chats" they had every time Hopkins had to take the elevator down from their office to help Anderson into the building. Anderson, in a wheelchair since a mountain-biking accident at 24, needed assistance setting up the temporary ramp to cover the barrier represented by the entrance steps.
These three steps might have been 100 as far as Anderson is concerned. He also found that the day-to-day drain on spontaneity, caused by entrance delays over stairs and gaps in sidewalks, represented accessibility challenges that begged an inexpensive, universally-applicable solution. Engineers refer to simple, practical, inspired solutions as "elegant," and the StopGap Ramp is as elegant as solutions come.
StopGap Ramps in action
(photo used with permission from stopgap.ca)
The StopGap.ca site (created as http://stopgapblog.blogspot.ca ) announces that "StopGap is creating a world where every person can access every space through fun and engaging community projects that raise awareness and remove barriers."
According to Anderson, "ramps simply make life easier for everyone and we are intent on communicating this through our project." All your who, what, why, when, where, and how questions will be answered on the site and facebook as these highlights demonstrate:
Ironically, business owners may be even greater beneficiaries of StopGap Ramps, along with their able-bodied customers and their neighbourhood.
According to Anderson's email: "Many business owners believe that a ramp will introduce a tripping hazard. We address these concerns in a number of ways:
The brightly-coloured ramps, stencilled with "StopGap.ca," deliberately attract attention to create conversation about accessibility, and channel interest to the website where it can translate into purposeful action. StopGap is currently competing for votes to win funding from the Aviva Community Fund . The goal is a van outfitted as a mobile shop to take the Community Ramp Project into neighbourhoods across the country á la Terry Fox.
The StopGap Ramp is an elegant solution, but it remains only a great idea unless you help it ramp up your neighbourhood. Who said, "Give me a ramp and I can move the world?"