Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas, Final Rule

by Dan Shaw

The ABA Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas final rule went into effect on November 25. Anyone involved in outdoor accessibility issues in a federal setting will likely be affected by the final rule.

Changes in materials need careful consideration, (Juanita Beach Park, Kirkland, WA)

Changes in materials need careful consideration, (Juanita Beach Park, Kirkland, WA)

Several of us at the office recently participated in a webinar on these updates. The ABA Accessibility Guidelines provide technical requirements to ensure projects on federal lands (or built by federal agencies) are accessible to people with disabilities. In our day-to-day work we often choose to follow ABA standards (even on non-federal projects) because they provide effective, reasonable, and specific design guidelines for accessible outdoor facilities including trails, beach access, camping sites, etc.

ADA accessibility works with crushed surfaces but has its challenges. (Beebe Springs Natural Area, near Chelan, WA)

ADA accessibility works with crushed surfaces but has its challenges. (Beebe Springs Natural Area, near Chelan, WA)

ABA guidelines may also serve as the basis for ADA updates, potentially going into effect as early as Spring of 2014 depending on how negotiations go with rule-makers. We anticipate that even more municipalities will start to adopt ABA guidelines on a project-by-project basis.

An accessible viewpoint and bench (Beebe Springs Natural Area, near Chelan, WA)

An accessible viewpoint and bench (Beebe Springs Natural Area, near Chelan, WA)

The webinar format made it easy for us to learn about these updates- we simply gathered in our conference room and listened in, which made it possible for us to discuss what we were learning with each other and how these guidelines will shape future projects. 

A serpentine path often reduces the gradient, improving accessibility (Don Morse Park, Chelan)

A serpentine path often reduces the gradient, improving accessibility (Don Morse Park, Chelan, WA)

The new guidelines are a great way to enhance accessibility for all.

The full report is available at this link.  The ABA PowerPoint show may be found here.

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Things are happening at Entiat Park!

Entiat ConstructionConstruction is underway for the Entiat Park Revitalization project.  Here’s how it looked last week.

Here’s a zoom-in look at the future!Entiat_zoom parking boat launch

Here’s the whole plan…

Entiat_Illustrative Base_60 scale

J.A. Brennan is currently providing construction support services for the 30-acre waterfront (5,600 linear feet) park remodel.  Our multi-disciplinary team (AJEM, Pacific Engineering, Z Engineers, HV Engineers, Nelson Geotechnical) developed the design and construction contract documents for Chelan County Public Utility District. The $6 million revitalized park will offer visitors new campsites, a group camping area, RV sites with amenities, improved water access, a new boat launch, a hand-carry boat launch, comfort stations, swimming areas, multi-use trails, and day-use areas.

A Focus on Improving the Camping Experience
The upgraded camping facilities include new walk-in sites laid out to consider privacy, views, and access.  Fully-equipped RV sites will accommodate a larger variety of vehicle lengths and provide RV camping accessory configurations.  The RV sites and access road will be rebuilt further away from the shoreline, leaving the shoreline environment for pedestrian and bicyclist enjoyment, and enabling native plant revegetation along the water.  This dry, often hot eastern Washington site will consist of irrigated areas of lawn and shade trees for park use, as well as extensive areas of invasive species eradication, native shrub steppe-restoration, and riparian revegetation.

Creating a New Identity

Here are some images of the new signage and park architecture.

Entiat Park Sign Concept

AJEM Restroom 2011.03

For more information and a few demolition pictures, please check out the PUD’s website.