You can tell a lot about a city by the way it greets visitors with disabilities. Palm Springs does a good job in this regard at its Visitors Information Center North.
Even though you may have sorted your desert paradise accessible vacation online, it’s still worth a twirl to this iconic building (if only for a wee). Originally designed in 1963 by Albert Frey as a gas station (I know, who would’ve guessed a great architect would design a gas station, but, hey, someone’s got to do it), it features a soaring roof, a hyperbolic paraboloid pointed roof which spans more than 95 feet over the front of the site supported by six steel pipe columns. Frey’s impressive design suits the optimistic personality of the post-WWII era and of the city itself. You also can’t beat the backdrop, an up close and personal view of the layered canyons leading towards the wheelchair-friendly Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
The 2003-2006 remodel of this now classic mid-century modern service station-turned-tourist center obviously took accessibility into consideration. You’ll find plenty of reserved ADA parking, good ramps, good maneuverability, and of course, bathroom stalls suitable for wheelchairs. I will step out on a limb here and say Albert Frey’s Tramway Gas Station did not include amenities suitable for people with disabilities. We’ve made progress as a society! But there’s still more to go, as you may know all too well, and of which I will share my thoughts in another post or two or three or four.
But I digress. Directly from the visitors center, you’ll see a paved trail running towards the tram station that I would advise suitable for high-powered, fully charged mobility devices only. Crossing over from the visitors center to this popular multi-use path is a bit precarious, as it is yet unmarked and a bit bumpy — amazingly so, given all the detail put into remodeling the visitors center. Once you carefully cross the street though, you’re good to go. My Pride Pursuit red mobility scooter handled the sloped grade beautifully, and the mountain scenery always, always lifts my spirits.
The Palm Springs Visitors Center is located at 2901 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, California, 92262. Phone: 760-778-8418
Making Accessibility Happen
Every city wants your business. Let them know what you need and want in order to make that business happen.
The above post was sent to:
David Ready, City Manager
Palm Springs City Hall
3200 E Tahquitz Canyon Way
Phone: (760) 322-8362
Fax: (760) 323-8207
Thank you for your comments regarding access to the multi-purpose trail on Tram Way that extends on the east side of the street.
We will evaluate options for improving access to the multi-purpose trail with the Tram Authority.
Marcus L. Fuller, MPA, PE, PLS
Assistant City Manager
City of Palm Springs
3200 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs, CA 92262