Enforcing Disabled Accessibility Laws
In an earlier post I complained that our current ADA laws are not being enforced adequately. Enforcement of accessibility laws is the responsibility of the US Access Board (USAB) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). That’s our federal government. It’s my opinion that not only should our federal government enforce the accessibility laws, but also that our federal government should set an example when it comes to enforcement of these laws.
Have you ever wondered if a US Post Office has to comply with disabled accessibility issues? Standards issued under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) apply to facilities designed, built, altered, or leased with certain federal funds. Passed in 1968, the ABA is one of the first laws to address access to the built environment. The law applies to federal buildings, including post offices, social security offices, federal courthouses and prisons, and national parks. The ABA Accessibility Standards have been adopted by the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). And if you compared the ABA Standards to the ADA Standards, you will see mostly the same laws.
So what’s wrong with the photo below? HINT: Can you find the accessible parking spaces at this Brentwood, TN post office?
OK, sure, you can probably make out the faded symbols on the asphalt. But where are the vertical signs that are supposed to be installed at the front of the spaces? And which space is van accessible? Where are the vehicle stop bars. And I can tell you these spaces are not the parking spaces closests to the pedestrian entry/exit doors.
All of these issues are covered in the ABA Standards. For example, ABA Standards 502.6, [Parking Spaces] Identification, states, “ Parking space identification signs shall include the International Symbol of Accessibility complying with 703.7.2.1. Signs identifying van parking spaces shall contain the designation "van accessible." Signs shall be 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground surface measured to the bottom of the sign.” So we should be able to see signs something like those in the diagram below.
In addition to these signs, there should be some wheel stops to prevent vehicles from encroaching on the accessible walkway, the striping and road symbols need to be reapplied, and the location of the spaces should be as close as possible to the entry/exit doors. These are some of the most basic accessibility installations.
So this is what I am talking about when I say the federal government should be setting an example. Let’s get the ABA laws enforced at federally funded facilities to set an example for enforcement of the ADA laws.