Disability and Communication Access Board of the State of Hawaii, Marie E. Kimmey
DISABILITY AND COMMUNICATION ACCESS BOARD
919 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 101 • Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
Ph. (808)586-8121 (V/TDD) • Fax (808)586-8129
October 18, 2007
Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
1331 F Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004-1111
Regarding: Docket No. 2007–02; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Proposed Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor
Dear Members of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board,
The Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB) of the State of Hawaii, is the State agency that reviews construction documents of State and County-related buildings, facilities, or sites for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). DCAB also provides technical assistance for Title III facilities. DCAB would like to make the following observations and comments to the accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas designed, constructed, or altered by Federal agencies subject to the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.
- More clarification should be provided to define the difference between a trail, an outdoor recreation access route and an accessible route as covered by the ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines. There does not appear to be a clear distinction between what is considered to be a “trail” versus an “outdoor recreation access route,” or when a route is considered an “accessible route” as defined by the ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines.
- More clarification of the terms “design” and “constructed” as used in the proposed accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas, needs to be developed. In the outdoor environment, there are many ways an element may be used although those uses may not have been originally planned for by the management or the program. For example, if some hikers create what may appear to be a trail which is later maintained, should that path be considered a new trail? What establishes it as a trail and does the program or management have any obligations to that path even if it was not originally designed or constructed by the management or program? If a low wall that people use as a bench was not originally designed to be used as a bench, should it fall under any of the technical requirements for a bench when and if it is altered?
- Question #1: New construction and alteration projects should be required to comply with the accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas to the maximum extent feasible.
- Question #2: The term “technically infeasible” should be used instead of the term “not feasible” to maintain consistency with the ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines. Examples should be provided to attempt to define when an alteration is “technically infeasible.”
- Question #3: Both the ADAAG and ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines require the use of the ISA to designate accessible elements only when all similar elements are not accessible. The use of the ISA should be used to identify the accessible trail or access route when not all trails or routes are accessible.
- Question #6: The accessibility guidelines developed for recreation areas such as golf courses appear to address similar situations in which auxiliary areas such as rental areas, putting greens, teeing grounds and driving ranges are required to have an accessible route connecting these areas. The recreation guidelines also require an accessible route to areas of sport activity or to connect both sides of a play/sport court. Under the new construction requirements of the ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines, buildings and facilities such as first aid stations, rental equipment buildings and concession stands are required to be accessible, unless structurally impracticable, and an accessible route is required to connect all accessible buildings and facilities on a site.
Similarly, a beach access route should be required to connect managed elements and spaces often located on a beach such as beach volleyball courts, first aid stations, beach rental equipment facilities, and concession stands. This route could be above the high water mark. At least one of each element should be accessible.
- Question #8: The U.S. Access Board should provide additional examples which illustrate how an “area” can be interpreted for a given situation.
- Question #9: The guidelines should require all trails to comply with a minimum level of firmness and stability as shown in the advisory box. The advisory box should recommend a more firm or stable surface or specific conditions, such as length of travel and intended use.
- Question #11: The U.S. Access Board in the ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines has lowered the high reach range from 54 inches to 48 inches and has established the accessible low reach range at 15 inches, an increase from 9 inches. These changes were based on the Board’s research and comments from the public that 54 inches was too high and 9 inches was too low for many individuals. The reach ranges for controls and operating mechanisms within the outdoor environment should be consistent with the ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines; the low reach range for items such as fire surfaces should be changed to 15 inches.
- Question #12: There may be installation projects in which the scope of work would allow for the installation and/or construction of an accessible element or feature. Maintenance and repair should not be exempt from compliance; compliance should be required to the maximum extent feasible.
DCAB recommends using the same definitions that have been developed by the Forest Service:
An alteration of a trail is a change in the original purpose, intent, or function for which the trail was designed.
An alteration of a recreation site, building or facility, is a change to a portion of a recreation site, building, or facility that is addressed by the accessibility guidelines and that affects the usability of the site, building, or facility.
Maintenance is routine or periodic repair of existing trails, recreation sites, or facilities. Maintenance doesn’t change the original purpose, intent, or function of a facility. Maintenance work isn’t covered by the FSORAG or FSTAG. Maintenance includes but is not limited to:
- Repairing or replacing deteriorated, damaged, or vandalized trails, facilities, or components. Examples include repainting, removing graffiti, and repairing or replacing components of facilities with new components similar to the original ones. Components include sections of bridges or boardwalks, signs, fencing and railings, siding, windows, and roofing.
- Removing debris and vegetation, such as fallen trees or broken branches; clearing encroaching vegetation from trails, pathways, lawns, or landscaped area; and removing rock slides.
- Maintaining trail tread and access routes, including filling ruts, reshaping a trail bed, replacing or reshaping surfacing material, repairing washouts, installing riprap to retain cut and fill slopes, constructing retaining walls or cribbing to support trail tread, and repairing concrete or asphalt paving.
- Performing erosion control and drainage work, such as replacing or installing drainage dips or culverts and realigning sections of trail to reduce erosion or avoid boggy areas.
- Question #13: Within the outdoor environment it may be difficult to impossible to maintain conventional industry tolerances due to weather, erosion or wear. DCAB recommends that construction tolerances be required to comply with conventional industry standards at the time of construction.
- Chapter T2: The U.S. Access Board needs to clarify when a facility or site must comply with the ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines instead of the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas. For example: Are pedestrian routes within a beach park or developed park that is owned and operated by a Title II entity required to comply with the accessible route requirements of the ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines or the outdoor recreation access route requirements in the ODAAG?
- Question #14: The ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines requires alterations to primary function areas to be accessible regardless of whether the route to that area is accessible at the time of the alteration, as the route is covered by the path of travel requirement. Elements located on inaccessible trails should be required to be accessible to the maximum extent feasible.
- Question #15: A beach access route should be required to each type of beach that has an accessible or pedestrian route connected to the edge of the beach surface.
- Question #17: Construction of a parking lot should not trigger a beach access route.
- Question #18: Beach access route requirements should not be triggered when an existing beach is being replenished with new material to restore eroded areas, so long as no other improvements are being made at the same time.
- T209.1: If all trash and recycling containers are required to be on an accessible route, does this mean that they will not be located near picnic tables, fire rings, cooking surfaces or benches that are not required to be accessible and are not on an outdoor recreation access route? Won’t that cause more litter and unsanitary conditions at or near those areas not on an outdoor recreation access route? DCAB recommends that only those trash and recycling containers assigned to or serving accessible elements, be required to be on an accessible route.
- T213.2.2: For other outdoor elements, such as fire rings and cooking surfaces, where there are two or more elements, 50% but no fewer than two are required to be accessible. For consistency within the guidelines, where two or more benches are provided in an area 50% of the benches but no fewer than two should be required to comply with T313.1 through T313.4.
- T218.2: For elements such as picnic tables the number of elements required to be accessible is determined by “area.” The minimum number of recreational camping vehicle or trailer spaces, tent camping spaces, and camping shelters should be determined per individual area and not just per the overall total number of spaces.
- T302: The guidelines do not require compliance to the maximum extent feasible where an element is exempt. Compliance with the guidelines should be required to the maximum extent feasible including areas that meet a condition for exemption.
- T303.5: There appears to be misprints or errors in the fractions noted in section T303.5.
- Question #20: In the scoping of built elements such as benches, fire rings, etc., the outdoor recreation access route to those required accessible elements should not have exceptions.
- T305.5: There appears to be misprints or errors in the fractions noted in section T305.5.
- T305.10: Edge protection is not recommended as it maybe a tripping hazard.
- T307.3: For the reasons stated earlier in response to question #11, the fire building surface should be 15 inches (380 mm) minimum above the ground or floor surface.
- T318.2: It is not clear what the difference is between a “pad” and a “platform;” is one meant for use by transfer rather than a mobility device? Is the only difference that one is somewhat level with the ground and one is elevated above the ground? The U.S. Access Board should provide definitions to distinguish the differences between a tent pad and a tent platform.
- T318.3.4: The U.S. Access Board should provide more clarification as to whether edge protection is required when the tent platform is accessed by transfer only and not by means of a mobility device.
- T405.2: The exception should be consistent with the ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines, which allows handrails to protrude 4½ inches maximum.
- T411.3: There appears to be misprints or errors in the fractions noted in section T411.3.
Thank you for providing us the opportunity to submit comments on the proposed guidelines.
Should you have any questions regarding the comments, please feel free to contact our Executive Director, Francine Wai, at the Disability and Communication Access Board at (808)586-8121 or via email at email@example.com.
MARIE E. KIMMEY
Standing Committee on Facility Access