U.S. Department of Justice Responds with Advance Notice to Adopt and Requests Public Comment
by Jennifer K. Skulski, National Center on Accessibility
On July 23, 2004, the U.S. Access Board issued revised accessibility guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). The new Access Board 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. See New Guidelines at The Access Board
Noticeable changes to the new Access Board accessibility guidelines include revised scoping sections providing 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.
The U.S. Access Board's revised accessibility guidelines under the ADA also address recreation areas, including golf facilities, sports complexes, swimming pools, locker rooms, amusement parks, and playgrounds. However, it should be noted that this section has not changed dramatically since it was originally released in the U.S. Access Board's final rule accessibility guidelines for recreation facilities on September 3, 2002.
Other notable changes in the Access Board's new guidelines 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 clarifies 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 to 18 inches to allow for construction tolerances.