Integrating Sustainable and Universal Design: A New Approach to Achieving Excellence

by Annie Cornett

As the emphasis on environmentalism and conservation continues to grow, it is becoming more essential than ever for the design and construction of new facilities to not only meet requirements for providing access for all individuals, but to also embrace this “green” philosophy. Universal and green design are not technically design styles, but simply points of reference that often influence the design and construction process. They have the ability, when integrated together, drive the design process creating facilities that are more user friendly and environmentally conscience as well.

DOJ to Hold Public Meetings on ANPRM

The U.S. Department of Justice is holding three upcoming public hearings for comment on its recent Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). The ANPRM has specific questions on proposed regulations for the provision of movie captions, video description, next generation 9-1-1, furniture and equipment.   Of particular note to recreation professionals, fitness centers and golf courses are DOJ’s questions regarding proposed requirements for accessible fitness equipment and accessible golf cars.
 
The first public hearing is scheduled for November 18 in Chicago. The other two public hearings will be held in Washington D.C. (December 16) and San Francisco (January 10).
 

ADA Approved and Other Accessible Product Myths: Choosing Products to Improve Access at Your Parks & Facilities

Choosing products for use in a park or recreation facility can sometimes be challenging and overwhelming with the overload of information from manufacturers and accessibility guidelines to consider.   This monograph introduces the major considerations for purchasing products to improve access for people with disabilities in recreation environments including:

Access Today: June/July 2010

Park and Recreation Professionals Gather to Discuss Accessibility Management 

Hugh Osborne (center), Community Planner for the National Park Service, discusses trail slope issues with training course attendees during the field exercise.More than 35 park and recreation professionals from throughout the United States gathered in Portland, June 22-25, to attend training on Accessibility Management in Parks and Recreation hosted by the National Center on Accessibility. NCA instructors provided an overview of the federal regulations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Training attendees were able to apply new information on the ADA-ABA Accessibility Guidelines, the principles of universal design, proposed guidelines for outdoor developed areas, and program access during a field exercise to the Tualatin Hills Nature Park. The Accessibility Management course continues to be NCA’s most popular training program specifically designed for accessibility coordinators. Look for the course to be scheduled again in Spring 2011. 

NCA Conducts Accessibility Assessments of National Parks in Pacific Northwest

While in the Pacific Northwest this June, NCA conducted comprehensive physical and programmatic accessibility assessments of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (Vancouver, WA) and Klondike Gold Rush (Seattle, WA). Assessments of the parks are a new project between NCA and the National Park Service Accessibility Management Program where 40 small, non-fee national parks will be assessed over the next two years. NCA staff has developed quite the expertise in park assessments following on the heels of a 12-park pilot assessment project with the National Park Service and other special projects such as

Frequently Asked Questions on the Development of a Field Test Method for Measuring the Firmness and Stability of Surface Systems

Prepared by the National Center on Accessibility
June 2010

In 2005, a task group within the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) F08.63 Subcommittee on Playground Surfaces began working on the development of a test method to objectively measure firmness and stability of surfaces systems as related to accessible routes on playgrounds. This test method can be used  by playground owners, facility managers and others  as a method for measuring firmness and stability of surfaces. The following FAQ’s have been prepared by the National Center on Accessibility to provide background  information to playground owners, recreation practitioners, and others  about the field test method for measuring surface firmness and stability.

Access Today: May 2010

Trail Planners and Builders Discuss Outdoor Access at NCA 21st Century Trails Workshop
 
NCA training course participants inspect the trail surfaces installed at Bradford Woods that are part of the NCA research study.Trail planners, builders and coordinators from land management agencies around the country participated in NCA’s 21st Century Trails Workshop last week. The 2-day experiential workshop was held at Bradford Woods amidst some of central Indiana’s most beautiful weather and springtime foliage. Bill Botten, U.S. Access Board, presented an overview of the draft accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas. Patti Longmuir, PEL Consulting, presented sessions on trail construction and considerations to plan universally designed and sustainable trails. Participants commented:
 
“[It was] very beneficial to get ‘hands on’ application practice and go through real world problem solving.”
 
“I now have ideas for both park district situations, museums, historical areas, zoos and nature areas.”
 
“The presentations were great and informative, but the site visits were the most helpful. Being able to physically practice what is preached is invaluable. Even better was to be able to work with staff that used and needed accessible facilities, units, and trails.”
 
The next NCA training program, Accessibility Management in Parks and Recreation, is scheduled for June 22-25 in Portland. 2.4 CEU's.
 
DOJ Sends ADA Revisions to OMB for Final Approval
 
On April 26, the Office of Management and Budget received the Final Rule for revisions to Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act slated to be released by the U.S. Department of Justice. Review by OMB is considered one of the last steps before the final rule can be issued. Typically OMB has 90 days to approve the rule or send it back to the issuing agency with questions or further direction. At the earliest, this could suggest enforceable updates to Title II and III could be released in sync with the 20th anniversary of the ADA in July. DOJ rulemaking revisions to Title II and III date back to 2004. For park and recreation practitioners,