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Richard Acree Attends US Access Board Public Forum on Accessibility and Assembly Areas

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On September 6, 2018, Richard Acree attended the U.S. Access Board public forum on accessibility and assembly areas at the Access Board Conference Center, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, D.C. The day-long event focused on accessibility issues related to the design of movie theaters, dinner theaters, performing arts centers, lecture halls, stadiums, arenas, grandstands, and other assembly venues. The forum was structured as a town hall meeting where participants could raise questions or concerns that arise in achieving access to different types of assembly spaces.

The Board is particularly interested in design challenges and potential solutions related to the standards issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as those that apply to federally funded facilities under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). Technical questions concerning use of these standards in new construction and alterations were welcome. This includes provisions on the dispersion of wheelchair spaces, lines of sight, companion seating, designated aisle seats, luxury boxes, club suites, and assistive listening systems, among others. The Board is collecting this information for a technical bulletin on assembly areas that it plans to develop as part of its Guide to the ADA Standards and the ABA Standards. 

Richard spoke during the forum to offer his input on the need for signage for handicapped seating at these venues and at similar venues such as dining areas in restaurants.  Richard also identified an issue with wheel chair seating at venues with dual purposes such as Dinner Theatres.  In those venues it is common for those attending to face in one direction for the dining event, then turn 90 degrees for the entertainment event.  For those people in wheel chairs this would require turning the wheel chair, and hence the clear space of 30 x 48 inches, 90 degrees.  

Persons with disabilities, advocacy groups, designers and architects, trade groups, codes organizations, industry, manufacturers, and other interested parties attended.  The photo below is just as the forum was beginning,

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