EP Event: ADA/Universal Design

EP Event: ADA/Universal Design

The Emerging Professionals organized a presentation and discussion on ADA/Universal Design on May 30, 2012 at MIG’s office in Berkeley. Tim Gilbert (MIG) and Michael Anderson (East Bay Regional Park District) shared their experiences integrating Universal Design principles in their work as designers and planners in the SF Bay Area.

Tim provided some great information regarding disability including some startling statistics: 54 million American have some disability with 29 million having a severe disability; there are more people with vision and hearing disabilities than there are with mobility disabilities.  By 2040 the number of Americans with disabilities will triple. He also reminded us that ADA is a civil rights law, it is not a building code but rather is about equal opportunity.

Some of the changes in the “new” 2010 ADA requirements are that best practices are now law, wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices are defined, reach ranges are 48 inches high maximum regardless of side of front approach, there are children’s dimensions for certain facilities, and swimming pools have been given an extension to come into compliance. The Draft Final Accessibilty Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas have not been adopted but they are recommended guidelines and best practices.

Mike discussed and showed examples of how EBRPD has worked to provide a balance of accessible activities throughout their park system.  EBRPD surveyed their facilities to identify items needing ADA improvements, created a GIS database of non-compliant issues, and established a program to address the deficiencies. The fishing access ramp at Quarry Lakes and the concrete ramp into the tidal flats of Crab Cove were impressive (and several folks were interested in getting more information on the custom scrub machine that was developed to deal with the algae build up on the tidal ramp at Crab Cove).

The evening was well attended by emerging and emerged professionals—it was a great mix of folks. The presentation was a good mix of meaty information and inspiring solutions. The following websites provide more information on the legal requirements:

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design
DSA’s California Access Compliance Reference Manual

Draft Final Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas


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