Access Today, Fall 2001
version - Fall 2001)
Inside this issue:
How we spent our summer vacation...
Summer 2001 Filled with New Accessibility Projects
It used to be that summer was a slow season for the staff of the National
Center on Accessibility. Not these days! It appears that "slow season"
is no longer scheduled on the calendar.
NCA conducted training programs throughout the spring and summer.
Two courses were conducted for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Albuquerque
and Phoenix. The courses concentrated on access to recreation environments
and school settings. In addition, NCA conducted training in Minneapolis
for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. USFW recently developed
an accessibility instrument to assess facilities. The training focused
on accessibility standards and methods to conduct facility assessments.
In June, Chaco Canyon National Historic Park hosted an accessibility
seminar which included representation from four other parks working
with prehistoric Indian cultures. NCA provided accessibility consultation
for the two-day seminar.
In August, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts hosted a national meeting
of accessibility coordinators for performance venues. NCA staff
kicked off the opening session on the principles of universal design.
As a result of the national meeting, NCA plans to work with the
Kennedy Center and participating groups on a research project identifying
best practices in ticketing policies to performance venues.
|Susan Ostby, Gary Robb and Amy Patrick conduct an accessibility
assessment at Wildlife Prairie State Park outside Peoria, Illinois.
In July, NCA/Indiana University, Clemson University and the University
of Utah hosted a meeting of golf industry leaders to establish a National
Alliance for Accessible Golf.
This summer, NCA also provided technical assistance under contract to the
Illinois Department of Natural Resources. IDNR recently acquired
Wildlife Prairie Park outside of Peoria. The park features interpretive
animal exhibits, trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and more than
100 bison and elk roaming the native Illinois prairie. NCA conducted
an accessibility assessment of the outdoor recreation environment
and provided recommendations to improve access for park visitors
with disabilities. The recommendations will be incorporated into
IDNR's multi-million dollar capital development plan for the park.
In collaboration with the University of Tennessee, research was
conducted on the expectations of people with disabilities visiting
national, state and local parks in the Smoky Mountain region. Findings
from the research study will be published by NCA this fall.
From the Editor's Desk
Eleven years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and
close to 30 years since the passage of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act, you might imagine the topic of accessibility to be a done deal.
You may have expected accessibility compliance to have faded into
the woodwork...either everything-programs and facilities are completely
accessible at this point in time or no one cares about access anymore.
Far from the case! During the last year at the National Center on
Accessibility, we have found just the opposite to be true. More
so now than ever before, in the last year we have witnessed a resurgence
and reenergized commitment to optimizing access for people with
disabilities in all types of programs, facilities and agencies.
Consider the following examples:
In March, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources asked NCA to provide
training for contract and grant-oversight staff. Long-committed
to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the state's recreation
areas, MDNR used the opportunity to retrain staff and provide them
with further guidance on accessibility criteria that should be considered
in the grant review process. Grant staff now have a better understanding
of accessibility requirements under the ADA and can critically review
grant applications proposing a new fishing pier or picnic area to
assure the projects will be accessible.
Realizing the self-evaluations for programs and facilities conducted years
before are out of date, both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
and the National Park Service recently developed accessibility assessment
instruments. The instruments not only provide a working document
identifying barriers to facilities and programs, they will assist
both agencies to better plan, budget and prioritize barrier removal.
In addition, the National Park Service has allocated $5 million
in accessibility improvements for the coming year.
Golf industry leaders have come together to form the National Alliance for
Accessible Golf, concentrated on facilitating access to the game
for golfers with disabilities.
Accessibility coordinators from performance venues throughout the United
States gathered at the Kennedy Center to discuss methods to increase
access for people with disabilities to the performing arts. The
group has since committed to meeting annually.
We could go on and on with examples. I'm sure you have many of your own.
In February, we will celebrate NCA's 10th anniversary. In so doing,
we also celebrate the professionals, advocates and consumers that
continue to work everyday to expand recreation opportunities for
people with disabilities. Together, reenergized, we are making a
Jennifer K. Bowerman, Editor - Access Today
NCA to Receive NTRS Award
The National Center on Accessibility will be presented with
the Outstanding Organization Award by the National Therapeutic Recreation
Society. The award is presented annually to individuals and organizations
making exemplary contributions to improving access and promoting
inclusion for people with disabilities in parks and recreation.
The award presentation will be made during the National Recreation
and Park Association Congress in October in Denver.
711 On-line Oct. 1
Using the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS)
will be as easy as three digit dialing starting October 1 when 711
will take effect nationwide. Both voice and TRS users will be able
to place telephone calls anywhere in the United States without having
to remember the previous 7-10 digit relay phone numbers. Under the
new rules adopted by the FCC last year, 711 TRS dialing must be
provided by all telecommunication carriers in the U.S. including
wireline, wireless and pay phone providers. For more information
on the new 711 requirement, visit the "disability issues" section
of the FCC web site at www.fcc.gov.
DOJ Issues CD-Rom
The U.S. Department of Justice has developed a CD-Rom with
ADA technical assistance materials. For more information visit the
DOJ web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm.
Post-Martin Ruling Tests ADA's "Fundamentally
The first case post-Casey Martin testing the rules of competition
and the "fundamentally alter" test under the Americans with Disabilities
Act was decided in August in Massachusetts. The plaintiff, Stephen
Kuketz, a nationally ranked wheelchair racquetball player, signed
up to play in the Brockton Athletic Club Men's "A" Tournament League.
Kuketz, to play against footed racquetball players, insisted that
he be permitted two bounces to hit the ball, rather than the one
bounce given to all footed players. The manager of the club refused
to allow him to play in the A league and instead offered that he
play in the novice league against footed players and be given only
one bounce or that they set up a wheelchair league if he could find
other wheelchair players. Kuketz rejected the alternatives and filed
"Relying on the analysis the Supreme Court used to determine
that the use of a golf cart by Casey Martin did not fundamentally
alter the nature of professional golf competition, this Court finds
that the imposition of a two-bounce rule for wheelchair players
who compete against footed players will fundamentally alter the
nature of racquetball competition in the A League. While the essence
of golf is hitting a stationary ball with a club, the essences of
racquetball is hitting a moving ball before the second bounce with
a racquet. Allowing one player two bounces fundamentally changes
the nature of the game."
Interestingly enough, the United States Racquetball Association
modified rules for wheelchair racquetball permitting the ball to
be returned on the second bounce. The rules are implicit for wheelchair
racquetball where both players are in wheelchairs. However, they
do not address games where one player uses a wheelchair and the
other is footed.
The Court also stated "The reason why wheelchair players need
a second bounce is that they do not have the same speed and mobility
in their wheelchairs as footed players have in their legs. Kuketz
wants a second bounce to offset the disadvantage he suffers from
being in a wheelchair, but it is impossible to determine whether
the second bounce exactly offsets that disadvantage or leaves him
with a slight advantage (or disadvantage) over certain players.
Stated differently, if Kuketz were allowed to compete in the A League
he requested and were to become champion of the league, no one could
know whether he won because he was the superior player or because
the allowance of two bounces more than offset his disadvantage in
Source: Kuketz v. MDC Fitness Corporation, Brockton Athletic
Club, CA 9-0114-A. Superior Court of Massachusetts, at Plymouth.
Golf Industry & Disability Groups Meet
to Form National Alliance for Accessible Golf
Leaders from the golf industry and representatives of organizations serving
people with disabilities and golfers with disabilities met on July
31-August 1, 2001 to form the National Alliance for Accessible Golf.
The two-day meeting was facilitated by the National Center on Accessibility
at Indiana University, the University of Utah and Clemson University.
In attendance were representatives from the United States Golf Association,
the Professional Golfers Association of America, the Ladies Professional
Golf Association, the National Golf Course Owners Association, the
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the Club Managers
Association of America, and the First Tee. Organizations and individuals
representing golfers with disabilities included Falcon Rehabilitation,
Golf Rx, the Association of Disabled American Golfers and the National
Therapeutic Recreation Society.
The National Alliance for Accessible Golf will include agencies, institutions,
corporations and individuals committed to the inclusion of golfers
with disabilities into the game of golf. The mission of the Alliance
is to increase participation of people with disabilities in the
game of golf.
An interim Leadership Council has been formed to establish the framework
for the Alliance including goals and action items. Indiana University,
the University of Utah and Clemson University will enter into a
memorandum of understanding to provide the administrative support
to the Alliance, while the Alliance will be physically located at
the National Center on Accessibility on the IU-Bloomington campus.
The overarching purpose of the Alliance is to develop solutions
to critical issues relative to making the game of golf accessible
to persons with disabilities. Goals to achieve this purpose, include:
- Increase persons with disabilities understanding of the benefits of golf.
- Increase the golf industry's awareness of the benefit of serving persons
- Advance models and resources for persons with disabilities to learn the
game of golf.
- Increase awareness of the needs of golfers with disabilities among golf
course owners and operators, teaching professionals, and related
- Advance scientific understanding of the benefits of golf for persons
- Assist the golf industry in resolving issues related to expanding services
to persons with disabilities
- Assembling and reviewing technical information for golf course managers,
rehabilitation and recreation professionals, and golf professionals
that lead to improved inclusive services.
More information on the activity of the will be available through the web
sites of the National Center on Accessibility, and the USGA Resource
Center for Individuals with Disabilities at http://golfcenterdisabilities.usga.org.
that will allow all interested individuals to receive and send information
regarding the Alliance is available for sign-up on the National
Center on Accessibility web site.
Next meeting of the Alliance Interim Leadership Council is February 5-6,
2002 in Orlando. Hosted during the Golf Course Superintendents Association
of America Annual Conference.
NPS Allocates $5 Million to Enhance
Accessibility in the Parks
by David Park, guest columnist
National Park Service
During FY 2001 the National Park Service allocated $5 million under a "special
emphasis program" to address the backlog of projects needed to improve
access for individuals with disabilities throughout the National
Park System. The $5 million was committed from the Service-wide
Recreation Fee Demonstration funds. The primary reason for creating
this special emphasis fund was that many existing NPS facilities
and programs were constructed or established prior to the development
of accessibility mandates and standards. Consequently, many NPS
buildings, facilities and programs are not as accessible as they
should be to the Nation's 54 million citizens with disabilities.
Projects that were considered were additions or enhancements to existing
facilities and programs that specifically improve access. New construction
and major rehabilitation projects are required by law to be accessible
and were not considered in this call. High priority was given to
non-fee collecting parks and collecting parks with low revenues.
Evaluation criteria for final selection included the following factors:
- Projects that improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities
to the wide range of opportunities offered to the visiting public
and employees; to do what is feasible to enable them to receive
as close to the same benefits as those received by others;
- Projects that provide rehabilitation, upgrade or enhancements of existing
infrastructure in order to improve accessibility;
- Projects that provide rehabilitation, upgrade or enhancements of existing
interpretive media, programs or equipment to improve accessibility;
- Projects that are based on an assessment of park accessibility barriers,
address high priority needs and provide assurances they will conform
to current standards, regulations and guidelines; and
- Projects that work in partnership with private and non-profit organizations
to create a more accessible park experience.
The response to this call was enormous with over $25 million worth of projects
submitted. Each of the seven regional offices initially reviewed
the projects submitted within their regions and selected up to $2
million of requests for final consideration. A national review committee
then pared that $14 million worth of projects down to the $5 million
available. After careful consideration, a total of 120 projects
were funded, for a total of $5,018,000.
Consequently, the breakdown of approved projects included: 67 projects related
to buildings and structures; 16 projects related to outdoor recreation
facilities; 35 projects related to enhanced interpretation and education
programs; and, 2 projects related to improved transportation systems.
For more information on this program, contact David Park, NPS Accessibility
Program Coordinator, National Park Service, 1849 C Street NW, Washington
D. C. 20240.
A sample of NPS projects slated to improve access for visitors with disabilities:
- Rebuild amphitheater at Fort Laramie
- Upgrade interpretive opportunities at Boca Negra Canyon § Rehabilitate
accessible entrances to Ford's Theatre
- Construct accessible entrance to USS Cassin Young
- Install wheelchair lifts for trolleys at Lowell NHP
- Develop tactile maps of Mojave National Preserve
- Create battlefield audio tour at Kings Mountain NMP
New power-assisted doors easily operable for all users
Power-assisted doors are often added in high traffic areas of facilities
to provide ease of access through entry doors that often exceed
the force requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act
Accessibility Guidelines. One of the long standing criticisms to
the power-assisted door models has been that because of the tension
on the door opener, they are difficult to manually open. New power-assisted
door models by Stanley Doors, AmeriLite and others address the issue.
In addition to the common door activating buttons, pressure pads and sensors,
the low-energy power-assist operating system offers a low force
requirement making the door much easier to operate manually. The
user activates the system with a slight push or pull of the door
handle, after which the operating system takes over and opens the
door to a full 90 degrees with no further exertion from the user.
The opening of the door can be extended past 90 degrees if desired,
simply by changing settings on the operating mechanism. The low-energy
operating units open and close doors slowly, stop when an obstruction
is encountered and are-designed with adjustable time delays. These
units also work in conjunction with other operating units such as
activation buttons and push pads.
Tim Ball, former Facilities Manager for the City of Bloomington, states "I
was really interested in the new doors because they had wireless
remotes, where you could open the door just about wherever you wanted
to. So it gave me a lot of flexibility as far as to where to put
the remote buttons to open the door; I have one on the outside,
one on the inside and I have one at the greeter's stand inside the
lobby of the city's municipal building. It takes no wiring, they
are operated by a 9-volt battery with a little antenna on the door
itself. They've actually worked quite well." Jim Lang, the current
Facilities Manager for the City of Bloomington concurs, " They work
quite well. People do like them."
Bob Tegart, Department Head for Facilities Management at the Von Maur Department
Store in Indianapolis says the doors also have a lower occurrence
of replacement, having only replaced one unit in the last three
years. Tegart believes that most problems occur when people to try
to assist the door during its closing cycle, however the operating
units themselves are quite durable.
Exhibits: A Model Maker's Perspective
on Trolley Gives Visitors Opportunity to Experience Park and Garden