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 A publication of the New England ADA Center                                                            December 2011 
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ADA Checklist GraphicUpdated ADA Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal Now Available

An updated ADA checklist for readily achievable barrier removal is available free of charge at ADAchecklist.org. The checklist is based on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. It updates the original ADA Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal which was based on the 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The original checklist was issued in 1992 and revised in 1995.

The checklist was produced by the New England ADA Center, a project of the Institute for Human Centered Design and a member of the ADA National Network.
Snow in New England
Stories from Around New England 


MV-1 Taxi Cab
Connecticut DOT Denies Permits for New Wheelchair-Accessible Taxi Cabs in Bloomfield and West New Haven   

Story by Arielle Levin Becker of the Connecticut Mirror

The Connecticut State Department of Transportation has denied requests from two taxi companies for permits allowing them to add 70 wheelchair-accessible cabs to each of their fleets. The Department ruled that the companies had not demonstrated the need for new permits and could instead replace existing vehicles with accessible taxi cabs.

 

Read the full story.
dcr logoDepartment of Conservation and Recreation to Host Accessible Winter Activities Across the Commonwealth
 
BOSTON - This month begins the Department of Conservation and Recreation's (DCR) Accessible Winter Activities calendar. DCR's Universal Access Program will sponsor a wide variety of adaptive cold-weather recreation opportunities at locations across the Commonwealth. Designed for people with disabilities and their families and friends, the programs are free. Pre-registration is required.

Activities offered through March include accessible cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, kick sledding, snowmobiling. Staff assistance and free use of accessible equipment, such as sit skis and kick sleds, will be available.

DCR's Universal Access Program is one of the most innovative accessible state park programs in the nation. It enables people with disabilities to participate in a wide variety of activities, making recreation programs in Massachusetts more inclusive. DCR invites participants to come out and enjoy the various adaptive winter programs, and is also looking for volunteers to assist with them. Interested volunteers should call Heidi Marie-Peterson at 413-577-3840. Two trainings are scheduled: January 7 at Wendell State Forest and January 22 at the Weston Ski Track.

FAA Logo
Federal Aviation Administration Evaluates Logan Airport's
Accessibility
Story by Christopher Hart,  IHCD's Director of Urban and Transportation Projects

This past week, staff from the Federal Aviation Administration conducted a field audit of accessibility at Logan Airport.  The audit will focus on 504 and ADA compliance for the airport and a final report will be issued to Logan Airport in 3-4 months. Logan's owner, MassPort, will then be required to respond with plans to address findings. 

In addition to visiting each terminal, FAA staff met with the Boston Center for Independent Living on Thursday, December 25 and Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD) staff on Friday, December 26, 20ll. 

The FAA was alerted to many areas of concern, including: inaccessible contracted airport transportation serving terminals/transit/ferries, routes to accessible parking, lack of dual mode (visual/audio) real time communication, limited numbers of family restrooms, lack of airside relief areas for service animals, lack of accessible gate agent counters, slopes of jet bridges and transition plates exceeding ramp requirements, the quality and training of staff assisting passengers with disabilities especially during transfers to/from seats, lack of elevators from gates to tarmac (to transport wheelchairs and scooters), damage to wheelchairs and scooters because of cargo door sizes on regional jets, and a need to establish design guidelines for both terminals and aircraft to guarantee accessibility as well as ensure passengers experience greater confidence, control and comfort during their travel.


The report is public information and the New England ADA Center will publish a link to it once we are informed that it is available online.
New Hampshire Denies that its State Mental Health System Violates the ADA
Story by Joseph G. Cote of the Nashua Telegraph
Nashua Telegraph Logo


In a letter to the U.S. Justice Department, state Attorney General Michael Delaney and Health and Human Services Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas rejected a federal study that accused the state of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by relying too heavily on costly institutional care as opposed to less expensive community-based settings.

Vermont's Governor Signs Complete Streets Legislation
Story submitted by VCIL for the Access New England Newsletter December 15, 2011

Vermont's Governor Shumlin signed Complete Streets legislation into law this past spring as part of the state's commitment to improving pedestrian access and safety on roadways.  Vermont joins Hawaii, Connecticut and New Jersey as the first states to adopt Complete Street laws.  AARP and state disability rights groups, including the Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL), supported the passage of Complete Streets.  All Vermont streets must now consider bicyclists, public transportation users and pedestrians of all ages and abilities when designing, building, maintaining and updating its roadways.  However, this does not require all roads to be retrofitted.  Examples of Complete Streets elements include:
 
* Retimed crossing signals to allow for slower walking speeds 
* Adding sidewalks that are connected to services 
* Installing curb ramps, sidewalk seating, bus shelters seating 
* Improving lighting, larger-font signage, pavement markings 
 
Several Vermont municipalities are considering new polices and making improvements based on the Complete Streets model.  The City of Newport, near the Canadian border, recently hosted a day-long field study for local planners and designers led by two Complete Street gurus: Dan Burden from Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, and Gary Toth with Transportation Initiatives with the Project for Public Spaces. 
 
To learn more about Complete Streets and how adopting this model can improve access for people with disabilities, contact the National Complete Streets Coalition. 
 
 
Of related interest:  
 
Read the Complete Streets Coalition story, "U.S. Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Safe Streets Amendment"

Complete Streets Legislation Signing
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed the Complete Streets bill into law May 18, 2011, one of the first bills to receive his signature in his new term as governor. Photo by Shannon Reynolds, Vermont Center for Independent Living.
 
U S Falg
Stories from Other States 


U.S. Access Board LogoU.S. Access Board Releases New Draft of ICT Rule for Public Comment 

The U.S. Access Board has released for public comment a second Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that includes a revised draft of updated accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This latest version includes changes made in response to public feedback received on an earlier draft issued last year.


Department of Transportation SealDOT Extends Public Comment Period on Supplemental Rule Making for Aviation Web Sites and Ticketing Kiosks at Airports

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is extending the closing date to submit comments about a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) on the accessibility of Web sites and automated kiosks until January 9, 2012.

More specifically, the DOT seeks to revise its rule implementing the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) to provide greater accommodations for individuals with disabilities in air travel by requiring U.S. and foreign air carriers to make their Web sites accessible to individuals with disabilities and to ensure that their ticket agents do the same. It would also require U.S. and foreign air carriers to ensure that their proprietary and shared-use automated airport kiosks are accessible to individuals with disabilities.


Whithouse GraphicObama Administration Announces $749 Million to Fund Housing for Very Low-Income Seniors and Persons With Disabilities


Thousands more very low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities will have access to affordable supportive housing thanks to $749 million in housing assistance announced today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These grants will help non-profit organizations produce accessible housing, offer rental assistance, and facilitate supportive services for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Read the full announcement. 

Think Beyond the Label GraphicThink Beyond the Label Creates Jobs Portal for People with Disabilities
  
Think Beyond the Label has launched an online jobs portal that connects job seekers with disabilities to employers, including those that are actively seeking to hire disabled applicants. Think Beyond the Label's new job-search engine gives candidates with disabilities free access to nearly one million job listings from more than 90,000 vetted hiring employers in the private and public sectors. 

 

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