Tag: city

Accessible Parks Take Priority as Summer Months Approach

New inclusive playground equipment being installed at Landreth Park. Photo by Roger Nomer; published in The Joplin Globe

Photo by Roger Nomer; published in The Joplin Globe

As the summer months approach, upgrading local parks to make them ADA compliant and accessible to children of all ability levels has become a big priority for many municipalities.

Carson City, Nevada, recently made significant ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) improvements to several of its parks. Over the past five years, Carson City’s Schulz Ranch, Ross Gold, Ronald D. Wilson Memorial, and John Mankins parks were inspected, funded and underwent remediation to get the parks into compliance with the ADA.

While 13 of the City’s playgrounds still use wood mulch for fall protection, City staff have inspected the sites and integrated them into a long-term ADA remediation plan.

In the City of Joplin, Missouri, an ADA accessible park is currently being built with features designed for all ability levels.

The new playground at Landreth Park is a first of its kind for the city. When complete, it will feature inclusive play structures, ground games, and access ramps that completely encircle the playground, allowing children of various abilities to access it at any point.

 

Sources:
Carson City parks panel plots course for playground priorities
Jessica Garcia, Nevada Appeal
April 18, 2021
https://www.nevadaappeal.com/news/2021/apr/18/carson-city-parks-panel-plots-course-playground-pr/

New playground first of its kind in Joplin
Debby Woodin, The Joplin Globe
April 17, 2021
https://www.joplinglobe.com/news/local_news/new-playground-first-of-its-kind-in-joplin/article_868a6a68-9e0e-11eb-a0f2-efdb8a542d8f.html#//

DOJ Joins ADA Lawsuit Over Chicago’s Non-Compliant Crosswalks

City of Chicago crosswalk is not ADA compliant.

The Justice Department has joined a lawsuit against the City of Chicago that alleges the City has not made the majority of its crosswalks accessible to people who are blind, deaf-blind, or have low vision.

The DOJ states the City is required to install accessible pedestrian signals that give audio or tactile cues when it’s safe to cross the street in order to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. According to the DOJ, the City of Chicago has just 15 of those signals out of 2,700 crosswalks with visual signals.

Continue reading this story at https://news.wttw.com/2021/04/13/justice-department-joins-lawsuit-over-accessibility-chicago-crosswalks.

This story was originally written and produced by Nick Blumberg and WTTW Public Broadcasting.

Disabled People Had An Easier Time Voting In 2020, But Millions Still Had Issues

Two major obstacles disabled people face while voting in person are waiting in lines and accessing voting sites. (File photo from Nov. 8, 1988, Denver, Colorado)

BETTMANN ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES — Two major obstacles disabled people face while voting in person are waiting in lines and accessing voting sites.

Disabled Americans had less trouble voting in the 2020 elections than in prior years, according to research published last week by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

The EAC report shows that the gap between disabled and nondisabled voters who experienced problems while voting has narrowed significantly. In 2020, 11.4% disabled voters reported having problems versus 6.4% of nondisabled voters. This drop is noteworthy in comparison to a similar report conducted in 2012 that found that 26.1% of disabled voters versus 7.4% of nondisabled voters reported having trouble.

This means one in nine disabled respondents said they had trouble voting in 2020, according to the report.

Continue reading at https://www.huffpost.com/entry/disabled-people-had-easier-time-voting-in-2020-but-millions-still-had-issues-report_n_6034102dc5b67c32961fc93f.

This story was written by Elyse Wanshel and published in The Huffington Post on February 22, 2021.

Accessibility In Design

Interior of Hunters Point Library New and grand public buildings often open to great fanfare. Typically well received, they offer new and modern solutions to the needs of the organizations and people who use them. However, Universal Design doesn’t always get the attention it deserves in what some might call function following form. The Americans with Disabilities Act has been law for many years, It is reasonable to expect modern public buildings to be free of obvious accessibility oversights. Unfortunately this expectation is not always met. The much anticipated Queens Public Library at Hunters Point is one such case, and unfortunately the oversight has lead to a lawsuit.

“The class action lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, argues that the lack of accessibility amounts to a violation of the three-decade-old legislation known as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, newly constructed public and commercial buildings must meet accessibility standards.”

While opening difficulties are not uncommon for new buildings, situations like this serve as a stark reminder to civic and business leaders that compliance with accessibility laws are a minimum standard. Much can be done to go above and beyond the minimum requirements to create truly inclusive, accessible and welcoming environments.

Source: Lack Of Handicap Accessibility At Flashy New Hunters Point Library Sparks Lawsuit
By: Elizabeth Kim Nov. 26, 2019 1:32 P.M.
https://gothamist.com/news/lack-handicap-accessibility-flashy-new-hunters-point-library-sparks-lawsuit

$30M and 17 years for ADA compliant sidewalks in Springfield, MO

Sidewalk without a curb ramp

Ensuring sidewalks and curbs ramps are in compliance with ADA standards is good practice, and not just because it is the law. Gentle slopes, well defined landings and wide smooth pathways are all convenient for the able user, but they are essential elements for people with disabilities.  While much work has been done across the nation, many municipalities are discovering that large portions of their public right-of-ways are not in compliance with ADA.

The City of Springfield, Missouri, is no exception. “Starting in December 2017, the city conducted an eight-month survey of sidewalk and curb condition and compliance that showed just 40 percent of sidewalks were in the goal range of “good” or “very good” condition. The rest were “fair,” “marginal,” “poor” or, in 8 percent of cases, “very poor.”  Nearly 10,300 curb ramps were included in the survey as well with similar results. Now that the City understands is problem areas, it’s planning to fix them. Over the next 17 years, the City of Springfield will invest $30 million to fix its curb ramps and sidewalks.

For many municipalities, fixing public right-of-way barriers seems like an arduous task, but working to identify barriers is a critical first step to understanding where their needs are and integrating them into existing capital improvement projects.

Source:
Springfield has a $30M, 17-year plan to make hundreds of city sidewalks ADA compliant
Katie Kull, Springfield News-Leader August 18, 2019
https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2019/08/19/springfield-spend-millions-plan-make-sidewalks-ada-compliant/2030215001/

New York City Settlement requires survey of 162,000 sidewalk curbs

vehicles traveling on road near buildings during daytime in New York City

Photo by Toni Osmundson on Unsplash

Accessible public right-of-ways are good for everyone. Gentle slopes, well defined landings and wide smooth pathways are all convenient for the able user. However, for some, they are more than convenient, they provide a path to independence that would otherwise be unattainable.  

In New York City, municipal administrators are starting important work to identify inaccessible sidewalks and curbs, and integrate them into a remediation plan. This work follows the resolution to two lawsuits. “U.S. District Court Judge George B. Daniels gave the final approval of a class action settlement resolving two separate lawsuits—the first filed by the United Spinal Association and the second by the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY)—and establishing a plan that will require citywide surveys of all ramps and identify which corners need curb cuts installed or upgraded.”

ADA compliance issues and lawsuits are becoming more common by the day. Municipalities have a choice to be proactive and move toward compliance and inclusiveness, or become the targets of lawsuits and DOJ investigations.

Source:
City to make more sidewalk curbs accessible
Lizeth Beltran, Crain’s New York Business  
July 23, 2019

https://www.crainsnewyork.com/transportation/city-make-more-sidewalk-curbs-accessible

 

Seguin City Council Unanimously Approves BlueDAG for ADA Support

The City of Seguin, Texas, is the latest municipality to take the challenge of ADA compliance head on with the support of BlueDAG.  “While the City of Seguin changed its policies to ensure new street and sidewalk projects meet ADA code, and made other city projects ADA compliant such as Park West, it has never formally adopted a transition plan”, Seguin City Attorney Andy Quittner said.   BlueDAG provides municipalities with a robust set of tools that help identify and manage ADA barriers, and seamlessly integrate them into a living transition plan. Many local governments are developing their ADA transition plans to ensure their communities are accessible to all and in compliance with Title II requirements.   All of us at BlueDAG look forward to working with another group of dedicated public servants to help create an accessible and inclusive community.  Source: City to create ADA plans for facilities Valerie Bustamante, The Seguin Gazette July 5, 2019 http://seguingazette.com/alert/article_794f923a-9ddc-11e9-acbb-57c322c8e3a5.html

The City of Seguin, Texas, is the latest municipality to take the challenge of ADA compliance head on with the support of BlueDAG.  “While the City of Seguin changed its policies to ensure new street and sidewalk projects meet ADA code, and made other city projects ADA compliant such as Park West, it has never formally adopted a transition plan”, Seguin City Attorney Andy Quittner said. 

BlueDAG provides municipalities with a robust set of tools that help identify and manage ADA barriers, and seamlessly integrate them into a living transition plan. Many local governments are developing their ADA transition plans to ensure their communities are accessible to all and in compliance with Title II requirements. 

All of us at BlueDAG look forward to working with another group of dedicated public servants to help create an accessible and inclusive community.

Source:
City to create ADA plans for facilities
Valerie Bustamante, The Seguin Gazette
July 5, 2019
http://seguingazette.com/alert/article_794f923a-9ddc-11e9-acbb-57c322c8e3a5.html

 

Feds Close Review of Cedar Rapids ADA Compliance Work

Feds wraps review of Cedar Rapids ADA Compliance Work Since 2015, the City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has worked diligently to improve access to its facilities and sidewalks for people with disabilities. The City has invested $18 million in the ambitious effort to do community wide improvements including the installation of 4,000 curb ramps.

Since 2015, the City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has worked diligently to improve access to its facilities and sidewalks for people with disabilities. The City has invested $18 million in the ambitious effort to do community wide improvements including the installation of 4,000 curb ramps. Deputy City Manager Sandi Fowler is proud of the work done and says, “Our citizens are probably living in one of the most compliant cities in the country right now.”  Moving forward Fowler says the city plans to spend an additional $12 million on future projects to build on the great work already accomplished. While it does take a lot of coordinated work and investment, being compliant with the ADA is not just about avoiding penalties. Creating accessible and inclusive communities is something all civic leaders should strive for.

Source:
Cedar Rapids officials report feds ‘close the file’ on their ADA compliance work
ABC 9 News KCRG
Jun 11, 2019
https://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Cedar-Rapids-officials-report-feds-close-the-file-on-their-ADA-compliance-work-511143932.html

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