Monday, November 21, 2011

ADA Accessibility & Site Selection

Americans with Disabilities Act has provided guidelines that came into existence under President Bush in July 1990. This important legislation was put in place to extend civil rights protection to people with disabilities.

Evidence of this legislation is everywhere we go: Federal, State & public buildings, medical care facilities, libraries, and public transportation has been modified to accommodate people with disabilities. Curbs have been lowered at corners for easy access to street crossings, ramps have been added to older facilities & to new facilities to allow easy access to buildings where stairs are the main entrance. Railings have been added to buildings and other public places for easy and safe accessibility. Elevators have been added in old buildings, in attempts to bring them up to code for easy access. Public transportation has added ramps and lifts to their vehicles for access and to transport wheelchairs and walkers along with their users from place to place. Parks have added paved or wooden paths for easy access. In fact, if you just look around you – easy public access is everywhere in our daily lives.

As meeting, conference & event planners ~ we at RDL are always thinking about easy access for all attendees to our venues. In choosing an event, special consideration is given to how easily the space is accessible to all attendees. If someone is in a wheel chair, on a walker or using a cane, can they easily get to each room of the venue?

RDL always keeps in mind ~ how accessible are the restrooms and the elevators. How far way are the meeting rooms from the general plenary sessions? Can an attendee in a wheelchair or on a walker or using a cane easily get from room to room in the time allotted for transition from one event to the next? Are the restrooms easily located and accessible? Are the stalls equipped with doors that open out and does the restroom have an area large enough for a wheelchair or walker to easily get in and out?

There are many things to think about when choosing a venue ~ try walking the property through the eyes of someone is a wheel chair, on a walker or using a cane. See how long it takes to get from one area to another in a limited amount of time. Also keep in mind locations and access to various levels, elevators, restrooms, restaurants, public transportation and other public areas.

Finding the right venue in older cities where construction is very old is a huge challenge. Special attention needs to be devoted to easy public access for all. It is important to keep in mind that no one wants to enter an event through a service elevator in the kitchen or through an alley.

For more information ~ here is a link to many more

~ Cyndy Hutchinson • Executive Director, RDL enterprises