Category: In The News

Tech World Honors Inventor of Truncated Domes

Visually Impaired Person Approaching Truncated Domes

52 years ago, the world was changed when Seiichi Miyake invented tactile paving blocks, also known as tenji blocks and truncated domes, to help the visually impaired better navigate and interact with the world around them. Today, Google, CNET and others are honoring Seiichi and his work to create safe paths of travel for those with visual impairments. His work was forward thinking and helped create accessible and safe environments for all.

Sources:
Google Homepage; Search: Seiichhi Miyake
March 18, 2019
https://www.google.com/search?sa=X&site=webhp&q=Seiichi+Miyake&oi=ddle&ct=celebrating-seiichi-miyake

Google Doodle pays tribute to Japanese inventor Seiichi Miyake
Jackson Ryan, CNET
March 17, 2018
https://www.cnet.com/news/google-doodle-pays-tribute-to-japanese-inventor-seiichi-miyake/

DOJ Continues Crack Downs on Municipalities Not in Compliance with the ADA

Humboldt County Courthouse

While the Americans with Disabilities Act has been law for more than 28 years, the U.S. Department of Justice has let many infractions slide by because they saw local municipalities were making slow progress to get into compliance with the law. That was until the late 2000’s when the DOJ decided local municipalities had enough time to make the needed investments to get into compliance with the law. Now, the DOJ is going after municipalities with some heavy lawsuits.

Humboldt County is spending $27 million over the next seven years to ensure its facilities, programs and services are in compliance with the ADA because of a 2008 DOJ investigation and settlement agreement.  A move that is putting the county in financial hardship, but work that its leadership is committed to.

These cases are not rare. In January we did a spotlight on suburban cities complying with the ADA in fear of losing federal funding as a result of DOJ investigations. In our discussions with the DOJ, investigators and prosecutors want to see that local municipalities are doing their due diligence to remediate their access barriers and have an up-to-date transition plan in place. While it does take a lot of coordinated work and investment, being compliant with the ADA is helping save many municipalities from the scrutiny of the DOJ and the public.

Source:
Humboldt County projected to spend $7 million ahead of Disabilities Act deadline
Shomik Mukherjee, Times-Standard
February 28, 2019
https://www.times-standard.com/2019/02/28/humboldt-county-projected-to-spend-7-million-ahead-of-disabilities-act-deadline/

ADA Myths Put Businesses at Risk

ADA Parking Spaces

ADA Parking Spaces

Since its passage more than 28 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has helped guide us to ensure the facilities we operate our businesses out of are accessible to all people. While the law’s application to new buildings is pretty clear, there are some myths about the limitations of the law on older buildings that can put businesses at risk. In a recent article in Kiplinger, some of these myths such as grandfathering and tenant obligations are clarified and debunked. As a rule of thumb, it’s always good to assume your place of business must adhere to the ADA.

Source:
4 Myths about the ADA that Could Cost You a Lot of Money
H. Dennis Beaver, Kiplinger
February 27, 2019
https://www.kiplinger.com/article/investing/T008-C032-S014-4-myths-about-the-ada-that-could-cost-you-money.html

 

Park Accessibility Point of Focus Across the Nation

In Aurora, Illinois, the City is using a variety of funding sources to make its RiverEdge Park, a major music venue in the region, more accessible by adding better parking, accessible shuttles, and 60 ADA compatible companion seats.

A few weeks back, we highlighted the great work the Town of Sudbury, Massachusetts, is doing to upgrade their school parks to make them more accessible to children with disabilities.

The subject of improving parks to make them more accessible to all is a hot topic right now. The City of Moscow, Idaho, is surveying their community to help planners select new playground equipment that will exceed federal ADA standards. The City is taking this significant step to ensure its parks meet the needs of children with disabilities.

But creating accessible parks goes beyond serving the needs of children, it also extends to adults with disabilities. In Aurora, Illinois, the City is using a variety of funding sources to make its RiverEdge Park, a major music venue in the region, more accessible by adding better parking, accessible shuttles, and 60 ADA compatible companion seats.

Recreation and park accessibility initiatives are rapidly moving to the forefront of public efforts. Despite what some may think, parks and recreation programs do not escape ADA requirements. Accessible and inclusive parks must be a part of all transition plans and future community enhancement planning.

Sources:
Moscow seeks input on playground equipment
Staff, The Lewiston Tribune
February 10, 2019
https://lmtribune.com/northwest/moscow-seeks-input-on-playground-equipment/article_26473bcc-fc34-5c0b-839c-14b42d6b2fd3.html

Aurora seeks grant to make RiverEdge Park more accessible for people with disabilities
Steve Lord, The Beacon-News
February 14, 2019
https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-aurora-grant-st-0215-story.html

Public Right-Of-Way Accessibility Becomes Apparent in ADA Audits

Oregon needs 13 more years to get sidewalk ramps to comply with disabilities act Ben Botkin, Salem Statesman Journal January 29, 2019 https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/29/oregon-transportation-department-curb-ramps-ada-compliant/2615998002/Ensuring sidewalks and curbs ramps are in compliance with ADA standards are major issues for many municipalities across the United States. While much work is being done to ensure pedestrian paths of travel are accessible to all, many municipalities are discovering that many of their public right-of-ways are not in compliance with ADA.

In Oregon, the Salem Statesman Journal reported that the “State still has an estimated 13 years of work to get all of its 27,334 sidewalk ramps compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.” While this outlook may seem daunting, Oregon is proactively working towards correcting many of the simple fixes. In the near future, they will put in textured surfaces at intersections while making long-term progress to install curb ramps at more than 4,403 locations. It won’t all get done at once but the State will make significant progress over the next five years.

In Dothan, Alabama, problems with curb ramps have also come to light. The Dothan Eagle recently reported that a “survey of Dothan’s city sidewalks revealed more than 76 percent of curb ramps do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.” Of the City’s 624 sidewalk, 338 of them failed ADA standards. Many of them failed because of cracking or slope issues. The survey also found that 1,124 of the City’s 1,468 curb ramps were non-compliant.

Regardless of the findings in the evaluations, the important part, and the part that the federal government and Department of Justice care about, is that both Oregon and Dothan evaluated their public right-of-ways, discovered the areas that are out of compliance with ADA, and have a realistic plan to correct the problems. Even if it does take time.

Sources:
Oregon needs 13 more years to get sidewalk ramps to comply with disabilities act
Ben Botkin, Salem Statesman Journal
January 29, 2019
https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/29/oregon-transportation-department-curb-ramps-ada-compliant/2615998002/

Most of Dothan’s sidewalks and curb ramps fail Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines
Jeremy Wise, Dothan Eagle
February 4, 2019
https://www.dothaneagle.com/news/government/most-of-dothan-s-sidewalks-and-curb-ramps-fail-americans/article_75dc6a28-28ad-11e9-a6cd-77435d6e37d4.html

O’Hare Adds Changing Places Restroom to Serve Travelers with Disabilities

O’Hare International Airport in Chicago now offers expanded service for travelers with disabilities and their caregivers. O’Hare’s new “Changing Places” restroom features an adult changing table, motorized lift system, and an accessible shower, in addition to its ADA compliant toilet and sink.

Read the full story at https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/01/06/changing-places-restroom-increases-accessibility-for-ohare-passengers-with-disabilities/

Mass. Town Invests in Playgrounds to Better Serve Children with Disabilities

ADA Compliant PlaygroundWhile parking lots and facility access often take precedent in ADA compliance projects, playgrounds are important community hubs that also require attention. In Sudbury, Massachusetts, the local preservation committee approved a plan to spend more than $230,000 to upgrade play spaces, making them accessible to children with disabilities and in compliance with ADA standards.

Read the full story at https://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20190118/sudbury-school-playgrounds-to-be-upgraded

More Suburbs Comply with ADA in Fear of Losing Federal Funding

ADA Compliant

ADA Compliant

Now more than 28 years old, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has literally paved the way to help people with mobility impairments navigate their communities.

While many communities are making good progress to develop up-to-date transition plans, something BlueDAG has been very successful in, some communities are pushing forward with substantial ADA projects to avoid the potential risk of losing federal funding.

In Minnesota, many communities are developing their transition plans to ensure their communities are accessible for all residents, and to ensure the money they receive from the federal government is protected.

Read to full story at http://www.startribune.com/afraid-of-losing-federal-funding-more-suburbs-plan-to-comply-with-ada/504272442/

U.S. Access Board Corrects 43 Barriers at Federal Facilities

Van Accessible Parking

Van Accessible Parking

In FY 2018, the United States Access Board resolved 43 architectural barriers at federal facilities. While the corrective actions varied, parking and entrance access were two of the primary areas people filed complaints against. Two easy fixes that brought many facilities closer to full compliance were installing van accessible parking spaces and automatic door openers.

Read the full story at

https://www.access-board.gov/news/1940-access-board-resolves-43-architectural-barriers-act-cases-through-corrective-action-in-fy-2018

Town of Hudson Uses Park Funding for ADA Improvements

Town of Hudson Centennial Beach (Daily News and Wicked Local Photo)

Finding ways to fund ADA renovations at public parks isn’t always easy. The Town of Hudson, Massachusetts, made it a priority and is using community preservation funding to restore its beachfront park. In addition to retrofitting its 50-year-old bathhouse, it’s also adding accessible walkways that will act as an erosion barrier.

Read the full story at

https://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20190102/hudson-is-seeking-to-renovate-centennial-beach

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