Feature Article - November 2012
Find a printable version here

Changes Are Coming to ADA

New Regulation Standards Expected for Campgrounds, Parks & Beaches

By Rick Dandes

Parks Are for Everyone

In the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department, "we teach staff members that including people with disabilities is not separate from improving program quality," said ADA program coordinator Lucas Tobin.

Inclusion is a key variable in most programs for people with disabilities. Most of the time, he said, "programs that are well-planned and include a wider range of instruction styles, visual communication strategies and positive discipline techniques seamlessly include people with disabilities and provide a better experience for all participants. We also point out that no one is exempt from having a disability, including themselves or their family members, to help them empathize with people with disabilities."

Your public park space should be inclusive of everyone in the community. People with disabilities, of course. But also every resident, no matter what their social status.

It is important that we are considering everyone as inclusively as possible, and certainly without being prescriptive in design. The last thing anyone wants is to say, "here is the trail for blind people, here is the trail for disabled vets, here is the trail for poor, and on and on .... "

We want to be able to recreate with our family and friends, so we need to design for everyone to get the most enjoyment out of the environment together, without separating, without stigmatizing.