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  Access Today: Fall 2004 issue


Access Today, Fall 2004    (PDF version - Fall 2004)

Inside this issue:





NCA Makes Big Move to Indiana University Research Park

Indiana University Research Park sign at front entrance.
The new home of the NCA, IU Research Park.
In July, the National Center on Accessibility relocated the Center's offices to the Indiana University Research Park. NCA's move comes at the suggestion of Dean David Gallahue, Dean of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and Dr. Lynn Jamieson, Chair of the Department of Recreation and Park Administration, who have both been instrumental in bringing NCA increased visibility on campus. The Dean's office also provided financial support to assist with moving expenses. The IU Research Park is located in downtown Bloomington, adjacent to the City Hall and IU's Big Ten campus. The IU Research Park now occupies the space which was once home to the Showers Brothers Company, one of the largest furniture factories and employers in Indiana dating back to the late 1800s. The sawtooth roof building, constructed in 1910, has been noted for its architecture reminiscent of the Industrial Revolution. It was renovated in 1996 as a joint venture between Indiana University, the City of Bloomington, and private businesses. Indiana University's Advanced Research and Technology Institute (ARTI) became the major IU tenant when the building reopened in 1996. The venture focuses on partnerships between IU researchers and industry. Earlier this spring, the IU Research Park was rededicated as a business incubator concentrated on the life sciences and information technology. Neighbors to NCA in the IU Research Park include Inventure, a partnership between IU, the Indiana Small Business Development Center, the City of Bloomington, the Bloomington Economic Development Corp. and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce; the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation Office of Development and Communications; the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands; the President's Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness Awards Program; and the Updyke Center on Physical Activity. The move has allowed NCA to double its office space and make room for additional staff, graduate assistants and new projects.

"The move to the Indiana University Research Park is very significant for NCA. It will allow us to work more closely with other units like the Eppley Institute, HPER Development and Communications Office, the Updyke Center, and all units of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Indiana University. It gives us the flexibility to grow in order to continue to meet the needs of park and recreation professionals." -Gary Robb, NCA Executive Director




NCA Playground Surface Study Underway

A man on a playground bends over a 
                     tripod base with a wheelchair caster to test the playground surface stability and firmness.
Ken, Kutska, Director of the Wheaton (IL) Park District, test the accessibility of a playground surface with a Rotational Penetrometer as part of the NCA Playground Surface Study.
The provision of public play spaces for children can be a costly venture for public entities. Playground surfaces range in price from $1-20 per sq ft. for the surface material alone. During planning, construction, renovation and maintenance phases, playground owners are often challenged about which playground surfaces to install. What surfaces are safe for all children? What surfaces are accessible to children with disabilities or their caregivers with disabilities? And out of those, what surfaces are cost effective enough to weather several seasons of use?

This summer, the National Center on Accessibility initiated a national research study to address these questions. This research study is designed to test a variety of playground surfaces, their ability to meet accessibility and safety requirements and their cost effectiveness upon initial installation and ongoing maintenance over a 3-5 year period. In addition, this study will compare the seasonal maintenance costs to continuously meet accessibility and safety requirements.

A national advisory committee has been formed to review the protocol for this study. Advisory committee members represent the National Playground Safety Institute, the U.S. Access Board, Beneficial Designs, the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association, Bloomington (IN) Parks and Recreation Department, and the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Currently public playground owners within the Midwest are being sought to participate in the pilot study which will continue through 2005. The study will expand to sites nationally in 2005-2006. Updates on the study will be available through the NCA web site. NCA recently received a $5,000 grant from the Leisure Research Institute, Department of Recreation and Park Administration at Indiana University to support the pilot study.




NCA to Initiate Long-Term Research on Trail Surfaces

In addition to research on playground surfaces, the National Center on Accessibility will begin a longitudinal study on the accessibility of certain trail surfaces.

Over the summer, NCA staff has been working with PEL Consulting to develop the research protocol for the study. Test sites throughout the United States will be identified this winter, while the research on specific trail locations is tentatively scheduled to begin next spring.

As with the playground surface study, updates on this NCA research project will also be available through www.naconline.org




Status of Rule Making
Access Board Issues New ADA/ABA Guidelines

A line drawing of a person in a wheelchair extending arm 
                     to highest (48 inches) and lowest (15 inches) point for side reach.
A diagram showing the new guidelines that deals with reach ranges.

On July 23, 2004, the U.S. Access Board issued new accessibility guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act. The new guidelines are a culmination of more than 10 years of work by the Access Board to harmonize the current Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) with other model building codes.

Noticeable changes to the new accessibility guidelines include revised scoping sections making clarifications for those covered under Title II (state and local government) and Title III (private businesses). Clarified scoping is also provided for facilities designed, built, altered or leased with federal funds under the ABA. A revised format uses a new numbering system more consistent with other model code documents and includes text to describe all figures. The previous appendix has been eliminated and replaced with advisory notes in closer placement to the actual technical provision. Other notable changes include:

  • Recreation Facilities: the previously released rules covering play areas and recreation facilities have been combined and are now included in the new Chapter 10.
  • Reach Range: the maximum side reach range is reduced from 54 to 48 inches, the height specified for forward reaches.
  • Accessible Routes: the provisions are included in one section, which also clarify the requirements for recessed doors, ramps (edge protection), and curb ramps (top landings).
  • Detectable Warnings: the requirement for detectable warnings at curb ramps or hazardous vehicular areas has been removed since the Access Board is currently addressing the issue under the Public Rights of Way rulemaking.
  • Van Accessible Parking: the ratio for van accessible parking has been revised from 1 in 8 spaces to 1 in 6 accessible parking spaces required to be van accessible. Absolute dimensions such as those for the centerline of the toilet, previously 18 inches, have been replaced with a range of 16-18 inches to allow for construction tolerances.

In referencing the new accessibility guidelines, designers, accessibility specialists and consumers who use the guidelines on a regular basis are encouraged to read the preamble section for rationale as to why certain revisions were made. The preamble also gives a background to many of the updates included in this new rule. (However, note the preamble alone is 116 pages printed from the web. And the PDF version of the new guidelines prints at 304 pages.)

Before the new accessibility guidelines can become fully enforceable, they must be adopted by their corresponding federal enforcement agencies. For the section applying to facilities covered by Title II and Title III of the ADA, the new rule must be adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Transportation. For the section applying to facilities built, altered or leased with federal funds, the rule must be adopted by the General Services Administration (GSA), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Defense (DOD), and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The new guidelines are available on the Access Board web site in HTML and PDF:www.access-board.gov




What Ever Happened to the Outdoor Guidelines

In 1999, the Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Outdoor Developed Areas, convened by the U.S. Access Board, issued a final report and recommendations for accessibility guidelines that would apply to trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, scenic viewing areas and beaches. The recommendations were a result of more than two years of work by volunteer committee members representing land management agencies and disability organizations.

The regulatory negotiation process for outdoor developed areas was similar to the rulemaking process used to issue accessibility guidelines for play areas. The Access Board developed a regulatory negotiating committee on play areas in 1996. Within 18 months, the committee had issued its final recommendations. By 1998, the Access Board issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for play areas to allow for public comment. And the final guidelines for play areas were issued in October 2000.

However, the process for creating accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas seems to have stalled as it has been five years since the regulatory negotiation committee's recommendations were submitted to the Access Board. Unofficial responses to inquiries on the rulemaking status indicate that the proposed guidelines were held up in the regulatory assessment and review by the Office of Management and Budget. Regulatory assessment is required for this type of rulemaking to provide an idea as to how much the rule will cost the field/industry to implement.

Some new indications from the Access Board staff suggest the rulemaking process may pick up in 2005 with a notice of proposed rulemaking based on the Regulatory Negotiation Committee's final report, but it would only apply to federal agencies under the Architectural Barriers Act at this point. In the meantime, park and recreation professionals are advised to reference the Regulatory Negotiation Committee's final report from 1999 when designing or altering outdoor areas as the final report still provides the most current and best available information for creating accessible outdoor developed areas.




NCA Joins Work on ASTM 1951 Revision Committee

The National Center on Accessibility has joined the U.S. Access Board on the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Committee on Playground Surfaces. The volunteer committee is typically made up of playground surface manufacturers. NCA and the Access Board are the first to participate on the committee with specific interests in accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities. Some controversy has arisen over the last several months when several loose fill playground surfaces passed the ASTM requirements for accessible surfaces in laboratory testing. Thus, ASTM's F1951 Standard Specification for Determination of Accessibility of Surface Systems Under and Around Playground Equipment is currently under review. NCA and Access Board Staff are participating on the revision committee which has been charged with developing a field test to determine the accessibility of playground surfaces actually installed at the playground site rather than only those surfaces set up in a controlled laboratory setting. Discussions to this point indicate the possible adoption of the rotational penetrometer, developed by Beneficial Designs, as a device to use in the field to test for accessible playground surfaces. The committee is expected to make final recommendations by next Spring. A vote of ASTM members would be required to adopt the proposed standard.




National Alliance for Accessible Golf Receives Funding from Cooper Standard Automotive

Golfers at the driving range practice their 
                 swing.
Participants receive instruction on the driving range before attending the Project GAIN reception at the Brandywine Country Club in Toledo, Ohio. The reception was hosted by the Ability Center of Toledo in July.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf recently received funding from Cooper Standard Automotive to hire a fundraiser for the organization. Terry Grimm has assumed that role and is actively engaged in raising funds for projects and operations. The Board of Directors of the Alliance recently met to refine its strategic plan and is finalizing specific initiatives for the next 18 months.

Project GAIN, Golf: Accessible and Inclusive Networks is operating in five communities across the country. Three of the programs have received local and regional awards. Project GAIN is a research and demonstration project and the first year results are extremely encouraging about the positive impact of this program on people with disabilities, their families and the community. The Alliance is also in the midst of studying Single Rider Golf cars and their role in making the game of golf more accessible. A task force is conducting a survey of golf course owners and operators who are known to have single rider golf cars at their facility to determine usage as well as issues related to having single rider cars in the fleet. The results of this survey will be used to conduct further research and education.




IU Graduate Student Join NCA Staff this Fall

Photo of Elizabeth Hall and Amber Havens.
From left: Elizabeth Hall and Amber Havens

Amber Havens and Elizabeth Hall join the NCA staff this fall as part of their graduate assistantships at Indiana University in the Department of Recreation and Park Administration.

Amber is a doctoral student specializing in leisure behavior. She received her undergraduate degree in therapeutic recreation from Arkansas Tech University and her graduate degree from Indiana University. Amber will be working on projects for NCA's partnership with the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability and the playground surface study.

Elizabeth is a first year graduate student at Indiana University where she is specializing in therapeutic recreation. Elizabeth also received her undergraduate degree from IU. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and has spent the last year working as a rehabilitation specialist at the Logansport (IN) State Hospital. Elizabeth will be assisting NCA staff on upcoming training and educational programs.




Product Review
Trail Surface Stabilized by T-NAPS

The following review is informational only and is not an endorsement of the product by the National Center on Accessibility.

A man in a cowboy hat stands to the right of a 
                trail overlooking the water while another person paints at an easel.
A trail along a beach that is stabilized by T-NAPS

T-NAPS (Total Natural Access Pavement Solutions) is a new soil stabilization product distributed by the George L. Throop Company out of Pasadena, California. T-NAPS, an oil emulsion made from pine trees, was originally developed to reduce erosion and stabilize the soil on logging roads in the southern U.S. The emulsion acts as an aggregate binder. While it can be applied to many different surfaces, each soil should first be "qualified" to ensure its compatibility. To have a soil qualified, a sample must be sent to the company and tested for aggregate gradation requirements. A sieve analysis measures the size of aggregate particles and can also be used to determine the compatibility of T-NAPS and a specific surface.

The distributor compares T-NAPS to asphalt inasmuch as it has the same uses and requires the same base preparation as asphalt when used for roads and parking lots. It can also be mixed with a local aggregate and put through a paving machine similar to asphalt. According to the distributor, T-NAPS does not change the color of the base material and can be used on trails and other areas where large equipment is prohibited. After the soil is "qualified" as mentioned above, the ground can be tilled and T-NAPS applied using a hand sprayer. The area must then be compacted. Application by hand will also require asphalt rakes and a plate compactor. T-NAPS must avoid water until its curing stage is complete, which can take up to seven days depending on the thickness and depth of application. Additionally, the installer must be certified in T-NAPS installation by the George L. Throop Company.

Cam Lockwood, Manager/CEO of Trails Unlimited, an internal USDA Forest Service Enterprise, is currently conducting a three-year research project on 32 different surfaces, including T-NAPS. While it is still too early for research results regarding the maintenance requirements and longevity of the product, Mr. Lockwood finds T-NAPS to "smell better, go down easier, and have a higher finish than many of its competitors."

For more information on T-NAPS, contact: George L. Throop Company, 444 North Fair Oaks Ave, PO Box 92405, Pasadena, CA 91109-2405. (800) 796-0285. www.t-naps.com For updates on the USDA Forest Service surface research, contact: Trails Unlimited, 105 A Grand Avenue, Monrovia, CA 91016. Email: trailsunlimited@juno.com. www.trailsunlimited.com

Access Today is a free publication distributed by NCA with the purpose of updating and informing people in the recreation field of current developments in the area of accessibility. Access Today is available in alternative formats, back issues are also posted on the NCA web site.

 

 

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