Wednesday, September 14, 2016

ADA and NYC parks, 21st century Guiidelines

While young children and seniors are often given specific
use areas, other ages and stages of life have equally valid
needs, which are crucial to a park’s success. Cultural prefer-
ences are powerful determinants of active and passive park
use. Neighborhood demographics change over the life of a
park, sometimes rapidly, so it is important to understand how a
neighborhood is changing so the park can accommodate
that change.
People’s physical abilities are highly varied. It is important
to understand park use from the point of view of the disabled
user, who could be a child, a parent, a caregiver or a visitor.
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires
that each program, service, or activity conducted by a public
entity, when viewed in its entirety, be readily accessible to and
usable by individuals with disabilities. This program acces
sibility standard — providing access to programs, not just
to facilities — permits a broader and more flexible range of
solutions to existing access problems. Program accessibility
may be achieved through structural methods, or by relocating
a program to an alternate, accessible facility. Local govern-
ments are not required to remove physical barriers in every one
of their existing buildings and facilities so long as they make
their programs accessible to individuals who are unable to use
an inaccessible existing facility. The ADA Design Guidelines
established requirements for barrier free design in new con-
struction and planned alterations.
Parks must ensure that newly constructed and reconstructed
buildings and facilities are free of architectural and commu
nication barriers that restrict access or use by individuals with
disabilities. When Parks undertakes alterations to an existing
facility, the reconstructed portions are designed to comply with
ADA guidelines.