[Federal Register: January 13, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 8)]
[Rules and Regulations]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
36 CFR Part 1191
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities; State and Local Government Facilities; Final Rule
ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD
36 CFR Part 1191
[Docket No. 92-2]
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities; State and Local Government Facilities
AGENCY: Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.
ACTION: Final rule.-----------------------------------------------------------------------
SUMMARY: The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) is issuing final guidelines to provide additional guidance to the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation in establishing accessibility standards for new construction and alterations of State and local government facilities covered by title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The guidelines will ensure that newly constructed and altered State and local government facilities are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities in terms of architecture, design, and communication. The standards established by the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation must be consistent with the guidelines.
In addition to the provisions for State and local governments, the Access Board has also made some editorial changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines. These editorial changes are not substantive.
DATES: Effective date: April 13, 1998.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Yanchulis, Office of Technical and Information Services, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 1331 F Street NW., suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004- 1111; telephone (202) 272-5434, ext. 27 or (800) 872-2253 ext. 27 (voice), and (202) 272-5449 (TTY) or (800) 993-2822 (TTY).
Availability of Copies and Electronic Access
Single copies of this publication may be obtained at no cost by calling the Access Board's automated publications order line (202) 272- 5434 or (800) 872-2253, by pressing 1 on the telephone keypad, then 1 again and requesting the State and Local Government Facilities Final Rule. Persons using a TTY should call (202) 272-5449 or (800) 993-2822. Please record a name, address, telephone number and request this publication. Persons who want a copy in an alternate format should specify the type of format (audio cassette tape, Braille, large print, or computer disk). This rule is available on electronic bulletin Board at (202) 272-5448. This rule is also available on the Board's Internet site (http://www.access-board.gov/rules/title2.htm).
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.) extends to individuals with disabilities comprehensive civil rights protections similar to those provided to persons on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title II of the ADA, which became effective on January 26, 1992, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs and activities provided by State and local government entities, and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak). Section 202 of the ADA extends the nondiscrimination policy of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, (29 U.S.C. 794) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in federally assisted programs and activities to all State and local governmental entities whether or not such entities receive Federal funds. Most programs and activities of State and local governments are recipients of financial assistance from one or more Federal agencies and are already covered by section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Title III of the ADA, which also became effective on January 26, 1992, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by private entities who own, lease, lease to, or operate a place of public accommodation. Title III establishes accessibility requirements for new construction and alterations in places of public accommodation and commercial facilities.
Section 504 of the ADA requires that the Access Board issue minimum guidelines to assist the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation in establishing accessibility standards under titles II and III. Under sections 204(a) and 306(b) of the ADA, the Department of Justice is responsible for issuing final regulations, consistent with the guidelines issued by the Access Board, to implement titles II and III (except for transportation vehicles and facilities). Sections 229 and 306(a) of the ADA provide that the Department of Transportation is responsible for issuing regulations to implement the transportation provisions of titles II and III of the ADA. Those regulations must also be consistent with the Access Board's guidelines.
On July 26, 1991, the Access Board published the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) to assist the Department of Justice in establishing accessibility standards for new construction and alterations in places of public accommodation and commercial facilities. See 56 FR 35408, as corrected at 56 FR 38174 (August 12, 1991) and 57 FR 1393 (January 14, 1992), 36 CFR part 1191. ADAAG contains scoping provisions and technical specifications generally applicable to buildings and facilities (sections 1 through 4) and additional requirements specifically applicable to certain types of buildings and facilities covered by title III of the ADA: restaurants and cafeterias (section 5); medical care facilities (section 6); mercantile and business facilities (section 7); libraries (section 8); and transient lodging (section 9).\1\---------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ On September 6, 1991, the Access Board amended ADAAG to include additional requirements specifically applicable to transportation facilities (section 10). See 56 FR 45500, 36 CFR 1191.1. On that same date, the Access Board also published separate final guidelines to assist the Department of Transportation in establishing accessibility standards for transportation vehicles. See 56 FR 45530, 36 CFR part 1192. The Department of Transportation has incorporated ADAAG and the Access Board's guidelines for transportation vehicles and facilities in its final regulations. See 56 FR 45584 (September 6, 1991), 49 CFR parts 37 and 38.---------------------------------------------------------------------------
On July 26, 1991, the Department of Justice published its final regulations implementing title III of the ADA which incorporated ADAAG as the accessibility standards for newly constructed and altered places of public accommodation and commercial facilities covered by title III. See 56 FR 35544, 28 CFR part 36. On that same date, the Department of Justice published its final regulations implementing title II of the ADA. See 56 FR 35694, 28 CFR part 35. The Department of Justice's title II regulations give State and local governments the option of choosing between designing, constructing or altering their facilities in conformance with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) \2\ (Appendix A to 41
CFR part 101-19, subpart 101-19.6) or with ADAAG (Appendix A to 28 CFR part 36), except that if ADAAG is chosen, the elevator exemption contained in title III of the ADA does not apply.\3\ See 28 CFR 35.151.---------------------------------------------------------------------------
\2\ UFAS was developed by the General Services Administration, Department of Defense, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the United States Postal Service to implement the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4151 et seq.) which requires certain federally financed buildings to be accessible. Most Federal agencies reference UFAS as the accessibility standard for buildings and facilities constructed or altered by recipients of Federal financial assistance for purposes of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
\3\ In new construction and alterations, title III of the ADA does not require elevators if a facility is less than three stories or has less than 3,000 square feet per story, unless the facility is a shopping center or mall; a professional office of a health care provider; or a terminal, depot or other station used for specified public transportation or an airport passenger terminal. See 28 CFR 36.401(d) and 36.404.---------------------------------------------------------------------------
When the Department of Justice published its title II regulations, it noted that the Access Board would be supplementing ADAAG in the future to include additional guidelines for State and local government facilities. The Department of Justice further stated that it anticipated that it would amend its title II regulations to adopt ADAAG as the accessibility standards for State and local government facilities after the Access Board supplemented ADAAG. 56 FR 35694, 35711 (July 26, 1991). Adopting essentially the same accessibility standards for titles II and III of the ADA will help ensure consistency and uniformity of design in the public and private sectors throughout the country.
On December 21, 1992, the Access Board published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register which proposed to add four special application sections to ADAAG specifically applicable to certain types of buildings and facilities covered by title II of the ADA. Those special application sections include:
11. Judicial, Legislative, and Regulatory Facilities.
12. Detention and Correctional Facilities.
13. Accessible Residential Housing.
14. Public Rights-of-Way.
The NPRM also proposed requirements and asked questions regarding the addition of miscellaneous provisions specifically applicable to State and local government facilities, including swimming pools, text telephones (TTYs), automatic doors, airport security systems, entrances, elevator exemptions, building signage, assistive listening systems, and sales and service counters. 57 FR 60612 (December 21, 1992).
Following the publication of the NPRM, the Access Board held five public hearings in various locations between February 22, 1993 and March 15, 1993. A total of 148 people presented testimony on the proposed guidelines at the hearings. In addition, 447 written comments were submitted to the Access Board by the end of the comment period on March 22, 1993. Another 127 comments were received after March 22, 1993. Although those comments were not timely, the Access Board considered them to the extent practicable. In all, the Access Board received nearly 7,000 pages of comments and testimony on the proposed guidelines.
On June 20, 1994, the Access Board published an interim rule (hereinafter referred to as the interim rule) in the Federal Register which added sections 11 through 14 and miscellaneous provisions to ADAAG. 59 FR 31676 (June 20, 1994) as corrected at 59 FR 32751 (June 24, 1994). Many of the comments received by the Access Board in response to the December 21, 1992 NPRM and the public hearings, as well as modifications made to the NPRM based on the comments, were discussed in the June 20, 1994 interim rule.
On that same date, the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation published notices of proposed rulemakings to adopt as standards sections 11 through 14 and the miscellaneous provisions of the Access Board's interim rule. See 59 FR 31808; June 20, 1994, Department of Justice; 59 FR 31818; June 20, 1994, Department of Transportation. Both the Access Board's interim rule and the notices of proposed rulemaking published by the Departments of Justice and Transportation sought comment on sections 11 through 14 and the miscellaneous provisions, as published in the Federal Register on June 20, 1994.
As discussed above, the Access Board's guidelines provide guidance to the departments of Justice and Transportation in establishing accessibility standards for new construction and alterations of State and local government facilities covered by title II of the ADA. The standards ultimately established by those departments must be consistent with and may incorporate the guidelines. It is important to note that until such time as the Department of Justice or the Department of Transportation adopt these guidelines as standards, the guidelines are advisory only and are not to be construed as requirements.
In finalizing the guidelines, the Access Board has considered all comments previously received in response to the Access Board's NPRM for State and local government facilities published on December 21, 1992, as well as comments received in response to the Access Board's interim rule and the Departments of Justice and Transportation's notices of proposed rulemaking.
The Access Board and the departments received comments and testimony from a broad range of interested individuals and groups, including individuals who identified themselves as having a disability; organizations representing persons with disabilities; State or local code administrators; State, local and Federal government agencies; manufacturers; design professionals; and national professional and trade associations. In all, the Access Board and the Departments of Justice and Transportation received 246 comments totaling over 1,200 pages on the interim rule.
The comments and testimony were sorted by section and analyzed. A large number of commenters expressed support for the guidelines. Some comments requested changes and others requested clarifications. Due to the large number of comments received, it is not possible for the Access Board to respond to each comment in this preamble. Many of the comments received in response to the initial NPRM were discussed in the interim rule. A copy of that interim rule is available upon request. (See: For Information Contact, above.) The Access Board has made every effort to respond to significant comments in the general issues and section-by-section analysis. As discussed under general issues and in ADAAG 13 (Accessible Residential Housing) and 14 (Public Rights-of- Way), the Access Board has reserved action in some areas pending further analysis.
Under section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 792), the Access Board is responsible for establishing guidelines for accessibility standards issued by other Federal agencies pursuant to the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4151 et seq.). To further the goal of uniform standards, the Access Board intends to use ADAAG as the basis for accessibility guidelines for federally financed facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 since the Federal government owns or operates many of the same types of facilities as State and local governments which are addressed
in this final rule. In the near future, the Access Board anticipates revising its current guidelines for federally financed facilities to be more consistent with ADAAG. As a result, the Access Board has made a number of editorial revisions to accommodate the use of ADAAG as the basis for revising the guidelines covering Federal facilities.
The editorial changes made to facilitate the application of the provisions of ADAAG to Federal facilities in future rulemaking and any other clarifying editorial changes are addressed in the section-by- section analysis that follows. None of the editorial changes made in this final rule are substantive and therefore do not require the issuance of an additional proposed rule.
Unisex Toilet and Bathing Facilities
The Access Board received a number of comments concerning the need for unisex toilet and bathing facilities to accommodate people with personal attendants of the opposite sex. In the interim rule, the Access Board noted that it would examine appropriate means of addressing this issue. In May 1994, the Access Board held an informational workshop to discuss the issue of scoping requirements for unisex toilet and bathing facilities. Subsequently, at the Access Board's request, the Board for the Coordination of Model Codes (BCMC) developed scoping provisions for unisex toilet and bathing facilities. BCMC recommended single-user toilet and bathing facilities in assembly and mercantile occupancies where an aggregate of six or more fixtures (e.g., toilets for either men or women) are provided. Assembly occupancies include, but are not limited to, theaters, museums, nightclubs, stadiums, amusement parks, restaurants, health clubs and transportation facilities. Mercantile occupancies include public accommodations for display and sales purposes, such as stores and shopping malls. The BCMC report has been incorporated, with minor modification, into the Uniform Building Code (UBC), the Standard Building Code (SBC) and the National Building Code (BOCA). The Access Board will continue to participate in the advancement of the recommendations of the BCMC report. The Access Board anticipates that the provisions concerning unisex toilet and bathing facilities will be included in the International Building Code as it is developed for publication in the year 2000.
The interim rule contained a requirement that at least one means of access be provided into swimming pools covered by title II if the pool was intended for recreational purposes and not intended solely for diving or wading. Technical specifications for pool access were not provided. This requirement has been removed in the final rule.
Comment. While many commenters supported a requirement for pool access, concern was also expressed over the absence of any technical guidance on meeting the requirement. Commenters noted that the ADAAG specifications for ramps in 4.8.5 require handrails which, if applied to swimming pool access, may pose a hazard below the water level to swimmers and that devices, such as sling-type lifts, were not independently operable. Commenters varied greatly on what means of access into swimming pools should be required. The suitability of the available design solutions depended on the needs and preferences of individual users. It was recommended that any requirement for pool access include technical specifications to prevent confusion and for safety reasons. Commenters also considered pool access equally important for facilities covered by title III of the ADA.
Response. The Access Board established a Recreation Access Advisory Committee to provide recommendations for the development of accessibility guidelines for swimming pools, other recreational facilities, and outdoor developed areas. This advisory committee identified important considerations in providing access into swimming pools that merit further study. As a result, the Access Board sponsored research on these issues to obtain information necessary for the development of possible future technical specifications. The requirement for access into pools has been removed. The Access Board will consider the results of the study, as well as the advisory committee's recommendations, when it conducts a separate rulemaking in the future to address recreational facilities. These future guidelines will apply to entities covered by both titles II and III of the ADA.
Several comments addressed other issues raised in the NPRM and discussed in the interim rule, such as assembly areas, and voting booths. Many of these comments supported rulemaking in these areas. While the Access Board may address these issues in future rulemaking, it is not prepared to do so as part of this final rule.
This section of the preamble contains a summary of the significant comments received on the interim rule, and the departments of Justice and Transportation's NPRMs, the Access Board's response to those comments, and any changes made to the guidelines.
In section 1 (Purpose) and throughout ADAAG, the reference to sections 4.1 through 4.35 has been deleted and replaced with a general reference to section 4. Additionally, the reference to ``guidelines'' has been replaced with ``scoping and technical requirements''. These are editorial amendments and are not substantive changes. No other changes have been made to this section.
3. Miscellaneous Instructions and Definitions
Alteration. The definition for ``alteration'' in the interim rule included references to pedestrian facilities in the public right-of- way. This language has been removed. For further discussion, see ADAAG 14 below.
The interim rule also added a specific reference to ``resurfacing'' in the definition for ``alterations''. The addition of the term ``resurfacing'' was not intended as a new interpretation of what constitutes an alteration, but rather to reinforce the original intent that the resurfacing of streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and other outdoor surfaces is considered an alteration. The term ``resurfacing'' has been retained in the final rule, however, the application of the term has been clarified.
Comment. A few commenters were concerned that the inclusion of the term ``resurfacing'' would broaden the scope of compliance to minor street repair.
Response. The term ``resurfacing'' does not include minor repair work to parking lots and paved surfaces, such as repainting existing striping or repair of potholes. By definition, ``alteration'' excludes normal maintenance that does not affect the usability of a facility. Repairing potholes would be an example of normal maintenance. Other relatively minor tasks, such as restriping of a parking lot, may constitute alterations because they affect the usability of the facility by creating an opportunity to increase accessibility. However, the obligation triggered by such an alteration is limited by the scope of the planned alteration. In the
case of restriping, the obligation would be to make the altered element itself (e.g., the striping) conform to the provisions of these guidelines.
Assembly Area. ADAAG provides requirements for wheelchair seating and assistive listening systems in certain ``assembly areas.'' See ADAAG 4.1.3(19). These requirements are intended to apply to judicial, legislative, and regulatory facilities which are addressed in section 11. ``Assembly Area'' is defined, in part, as ``a room or space accommodating a group of individuals for recreation, educational, political, social or amusement purposes.'' For clarity, a reference to ``civic'' purposes has been added.
Continuous Passage. The definition for ``continuous passage'' in the interim rule referenced ADAAG 14 (Public Rights-of-Way). This definition has been removed. For further discussion, see ADAAG 14 below.
Curb Ramp. The definition for ``curb ramp'' in the interim rule included a reference to ADAAG 14 (Public Rights-of-Way). This language has been removed. For further discussion, see ADAAG 14 below.
Dwelling Unit. The definition for ``dwelling unit'' in the interim rule included a reference to ADAAG 13 (Accessible Residential Housing). This language has been removed. For further discussion, see ADAAG 13 below.
Private Facility and Public Facility. The final rule includes definitions for ``private facility'' and for ``public facility.'' ``Private facility'' is defined as a public accommodation or a commercial facility subject to title III of the ADA and the Department of Justice implementing regulation (28 CFR part 36) or a transportation facility subject to title III of the ADA and the Department of Transportation's ADA regulation covering facilities constructed or altered by private entities (49 CFR 37.45). ``Public facility'' is defined as those facilities or portions thereof that are constructed by, on behalf of, or for the use of a public entity subject to title II of the ADA and the Department of Justice implementing regulation (28 CFR part 35) or a transportation facility subject to title II of the ADA and the Department of Transportation's regulations implementing the ADA as it applies to facilities constructed or altered by public entities (49 CFR 37.41 and 49 CFR 37.43). These terms are included in the final rule to distinguish certain requirements in the rule that apply only to facilities subject to title II or to facilities subject to title III, but not both. The terms replace references to ``places of public accommodation and commercial facilities'' and to references in the interim final rule to ``facilities subject to title II of the ADA.''
Public Rights-of-Way. The definition for ``public rights-of-way'' in the interim rule referenced ADAAG 14 (Public Rights-of-Way). This definition has been removed. For further discussion, see ADAAG 14 below.
Public Sidewalk. The definition for ``public sidewalk'' in the interim rule referenced ADAAG 14 (Public Rights-of-Way). This definition has been removed. For further discussion, see ADAAG 14 below.
Public Sidewalk Curb Ramp. The definition for ``public sidewalk curb ramp'' in the interim rule referenced ADAAG 14 (Public Rights-of- Way). This definition has been removed. For further discussion, see ADAAG 14 below.
Site Infeasibility. The definition for ``site infeasibility'' in the interim rule referenced ADAAG 14 (Public Rights-of-Way). This definition has been removed. For further discussion, see ADAAG 14 below.
TTY, TDD, and Text Telephone. The interim rule included editorial revisions concerning the use of the terms ``text telephone'' and ``TTY''. Both terms are synonymous and refer to devices that make telephones accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have speech impairments via typed messages through the standard telephone network. The interim rule replaced the term ``text telephone'' with ``TTY'' in this section and throughout ADAAG. The final rule amends ADAAG 3.5 (Definitions), 4.1.3(17), 4.30.7, and 4.31.9 to include a reference to both ``text telephone'' and ``TTY'' for clarity. In addition, ``TDD,'' another synonymous term which is used on the international symbol for these devices and in other regulations, has been added to ADAAG 3.5 (Definitions).
Comment. Organizations representing people who are deaf or hard of hearing preferred the original use of the term text telephone as it is more descriptive than abbreviated terms such as TTY. Other commenters recommended that both text telephone and TTY be used in ADAAG as the abbreviation TTY is more commonly used.
Response. The definition of TTY in the interim rule has been amended to reference the definition of text telephone. A reference to TTYs has been added to the definition of text telephone. ADAAG has been modified to include both text telephone and TTY when referencing devices that make telephones accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have speech impairments.
Technically Infeasible. This term and a reference to its definition in alterations (4.1.6(1)(j)) was added in the interim rule for clarification. No substantive comments were received and no changes have been made to this definition.
Transient Lodging. The interim rule modified the definition of ``transient lodging'' to clarify that a transient lodging facility is not considered a residential facility. An appendix note was added referencing the Department of Justice's policy and rules regarding transient lodging. No substantive comments were received regarding this definition or the appendix note and no changes have been made to this provision or the appendix note.
4. Accessible Elements and Spaces: Scope and Technical Requirements
4.1 Minimum Requirement
4.1.1 Application. 4.1.1(1) General. 4.1.1(2) Application Based on Building Use. ADAAG 4.1.1(1) (General) and 4.1.1(2) (Application Based on Building Use) were editorially revised in the interim rule for clarity. Few comments were received regarding these sections and no substantive changes have been made in the final rule.
4.1.1(5) General Exceptions. As revised in the interim rule, ADAAG 4.1.1(5)(b) exempts from the requirements for accessibility, prison guard towers, fire towers, fixed life guard towers, and other areas raised for purposes of security or life or fire safety; non-occupiable spaces accessed only by tunnels and frequented only by personnel for maintenance or occasional monitoring of equipment; and single occupant structures accessed only by passageways above or below grade. A reference to ``lookout galleries'' has been added to the final rule for clarification. No substantive changes have been made to this provision in the final rule.
Comment. One disability group opposed the exceptions for fire towers and prison guard towers. Both the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA) and the Paralyzed Veterans of America opposed exceptions for toll booths. These commenters pointed to the employment opportunities available to persons with disabilities at such facilities. In addition, EPVA provided information regarding a newly built facility where elevator access has been provided to toll booths accessed from tunnels below. One commenter expressed support for the exception for non-occupiable spaces.
Response. Originally, ADAAG 4.1.1(5)(b) provided that accessibility was not required to ``(i) observation galleries which were used primarily for security purposes; or (ii) non-occupiable
spaces which were accessed only by ladders, catwalks, crawl spaces, very narrow passageways, or freight (non-passenger) elevators, and frequented only by service personnel for repair purposes'' (e.g., elevator pits, elevator penthouses, piping or equipment catwalks). The interim rule amended the language of 4.1.1(5)(b)(i) by providing that accessibility was not required to ``raised areas used primarily for purposes of security or life or fire safety'' (e.g., observation galleries, prison guard towers, fire towers or fixed life guard stands). Section 4.1.1(5)(b)(ii), as amended in this final rule, includes a reference to areas ``frequented only by service personnel for maintenance, repairs, or occasional monitoring of equipment'' in lieu of areas ``frequented only by service personnel for repair purposes''. The interim rule provided several examples of such areas, including water or sewage treatment pump rooms and stations, electric substations and transformer vaults, and highway and tunnel utility facilities. The final amendment to this provision includes the addition of a third paragraph referencing single occupant structures accessed only by passageways below grade or elevated above grade, including, but not limited to, toll booths that are required to be accessed from underground tunnels. This provision was not intended to exempt structures accessed by passageways merely elevated by a curb and has been clarified in the final rule as applying to single occupant structures that are accessed by passageways elevated above standard curb height.
The additions made to 4.1.1(5)(b) in the interim rule were not intended to broaden the basis of exempt areas, but to address structures specific to the public sector that are similar to those areas which were exempt under the earlier version of this provision because of design constraints. The examples specifically referenced in the interim rule as exempt areas, such as prison guard, fire, and fixed life guard towers are subject to design constraints which are similar to, if not greater than, those relevant to observation galleries raised for security purposes. Since these facilities are typically for limited use and not open to the public, the Access Board sought to provide accessibility requirements for State and local government facilities consistent with the level of access required for the private sector.
With respect to toll booths, elevator or lift access may provide access to booths accessed from tunnels below or passageways above. However, providing elevators or lifts in full compliance with ADAAG will significantly impact the design and cost of such structures. The exception applies only to toll booths accessed from below or above grade, not to those that can be accessed at grade.
Comment. A correctional entity recommended that prison boot camps, national guard facilities, and firing ranges be exempt since such facilities are typically not intended to serve persons with disabilities.
Response. As discussed in the interim rule, the Access Board has not provided any exceptions based on the presumed physical abilities of the occupants of the facilities. Instead, exceptions in 4.1.1(5)(b) are based primarily on the structural and cost impacts of access to certain limited use structures.
Comment. One commenter recommended an exemption for elevated control rooms such as those found in correctional facilities.
Response. Such facilities, depending on their design and use, may be exempt under the exception for ``raised areas used primarily for purposes of security.''
4.1.3(5) Elevators. The interim rule added several exceptions to the requirement for elevator access for State and local government facilities.
Exception 1(a) of ADAAG 4.1.3(5) contains an exception based on the number of stories or square footage per floor specific to private facilities, which are defined in 3.5 as those facilities subject to title III of the ADA.
Exception 1(b) of ADAAG 4.1.3(5) provides that elevators are not required in drawbridge towers and boat traffic towers, lock and dam control stations, train dispatching towers and similar structures subject to title II of the ADA as a public facility that are less than three stories and not open to the public, where the story above or below the accessible ground floor houses no more than five persons and is less than 500 square feet. This provision has been editorially revised for clarity.
Comment. One commenter opposed this exception because it may deny persons with disabilities certain job opportunities. Another commenter recommended that the language of the exception, including the reference to ``similar structures,'' be more specific.
Response. Exception 1(b) is based on the design and cost impact of providing elevator access in small limited use structures and applies only to those facilities that are less than three stories, are not open to the public, and where the story above or below the accessible ground floor has a maximum occupancy of five and is less than 500 square feet. Each of these conditions must be met for the exemption to apply. Specific facilities such as drawbridge and boat traffic towers, lock and dam control stations, and train dispatching towers are referenced to illustrate the type of structures the exception may cover.
Exception 4 (Platform Lifts). The interim rule also recognized additional situations in which a platform lift can be used to provide vertical access. Exception 4(e) to ADAAG 4.1.3 permits lift access to judges' benches, clerks' stations, raised speakers' platforms, jury boxes and witness stands. It is possible that some designs may include areas that are lower than the floor of a courtroom, such as the well of the court, instead of raised spaces such as jury boxes. For clarity and consistency, a reference has been added to ``depressed areas'' in addition to the raised spaces originally listed. Exception 4(f) which applied specifically to dwelling units has been deleted in the final rule. For further discussion regarding the application of accessibility requirements for dwelling units, see ADAAG 13 (Accessible Residential Housing) below.
Exception 5 (Air Traffic Control Towers). Exception 5 exempts air traffic control towers from the requirement that an elevator serve each level of a facility. Under this exception, elevator access is not required to the cab or to the floor immediately below the cab since an elevator serving such levels would obstruct the 360-degree clear view necessary in an air traffic control tower. No changes have been made to this provision in the final rule.
Comment. A few comments opposed the exception for air traffic control towers since possible design alternatives currently under review, (e.g., the use of glass observation elevators), may provide feasible solutions to the problem of providing an unobstructed 360- degree clear view.
Response. As discussed in the interim rule, the exception for air traffic control towers is based on the impact of providing vertical access to the cab level. While solutions for this access may exist, their impact on design is significant according to information from the Federal Aviation Administration. It is for these reasons that an exception for vertical access to the cab and the level immediately below the cab has been provided.
4.1.3(8) Entrances. ADAAG 4.1.3(8)(a) requires that, at a minimum, 50 percent of all public entrances be accessible. It also requires accessible entrances to be provided in a number at least equivalent to the number of exits required by the applicable building or fire code. However, this is required only to the extent that the number of entrances planned for a facility is equal to or
greater than the number of exits required; if the number of exits exceeds the number of planned entrances, all planned entrances are required to be accessible. Additional entrances are not required. Paragraph (a) also states that, ``where feasible, accessible entrances shall be those used by the majority of the people visiting or working in the building.'' The interim rule added an additional requirement that facilities subject to title II of the ADA must include all ``principal public entrances'' when meeting this requirement. These entrances were defined as those entrances designed and constructed to accommodate a substantial flow of pedestrian traffic to a major function in a facility subject to title II. Appendix material provided examples to clarify the application of this requirement. This requirement, definition, and appendix note for principal public entrances has been removed in the final rule. Since ADAAG requires access to entrances used by the majority of visitors or employees where feasible, the Board considered the requirement for principal public entrances in the interim final rule as a possible source of confusion. Further, the Board is concerned that designers might have difficulty determining which entrances constituted a ``principal public entrance.'' In addition, editorial revisions have been made to this section for clarity and consistency.
ADAAG 12 (Detention and Correctional Facilities) requires that public entrances, including entrances that are secured, shall be accessible as required by 4.1.3(8). This requirement does not increase the number of entrances required to be accessible by 4.1.3(8) and provides an exception from certain ADAAG specifications for doors and doorways. This exception applies to doors or doorways operated only by security personnel or where security requirements prohibit full compliance with the guidelines. See ADAAG 12.2.1. A cross reference to this section has been added to 4.1.3(8)(a) in the final rule.
ADAAG 4.1.3(8)(b) requires that, where provided, one direct entrance to an enclosed parking garage and one entrance to a pedestrian tunnel or elevated walkway must be accessible in addition to those entrances required to be accessible by 4.1.3(8)(a). ADAAG 11 contains additional requirements for access to restricted and secured entrances in judicial, legislative, and regulatory facilities. A cross reference to these requirements has been added to 4.1.3(8)(b) in the final rule.
4.1.3(17)(c) Text Telephones (TTYs). ADAAG 4.1.3(17)(c)(i) provides that if an interior public pay telephone is provided in a public use area of a building that is part of a public facility, then at least one interior public text telephone (TTY) shall be provided in the building in a public use area. This requirement, which was located at 4.1.3(17)(c)(iv) in the interim rule, has been revised to cover ``buildings'' instead of ``facilities'' for clarity. The existing requirement for a public text telephone where four or more public pay telephones are provided on a site and at least one is in an interior location has been clarified as applying to private facilities subject to title III of the ADA.
ADAAG 4.1.3(17)(c)(ii) requires that in public facilities that are stadiums, arenas and convention centers, at least one public text telephone (TTY) shall be provided on each floor level having a public pay telephone. ADAAG 4.1.3(17)(c)(iv) requires that if an interior public pay telephone is provided in a secured area of a detention or correctional facility, then at least one public text telephone (TTY) shall be provided in at least one secured area. ADAAG 4.1.3(17)(d) provides that, where a bank of telephones in the interior of a building consists of three or more public pay telephones, at least one public pay telephone in each such bank shall be equipped with a shelf and outlet in compliance with ADAAG 4.31.9(2). This provision contains an exception for the secured areas of detention or correctional facilities where outlets are prohibited for purposes of security or safety. No substantive changes have been made to these sections.
Comment. Several commenters supported this provision. Other commenters supported an increase in the number of text telephones (TTYs) required and offered various recommendations. The American Public Communications Council, a trade association comprised of suppliers of public pay telephones and other services, was concerned that the requirement could have the unintended result of decreasing the number of public pay telephones available to all members of the public. They stated that the business of providing public pay telephones operates on a very thin margin and the increased investment cost of an additional $1000 or more may mean that neither independent public pay telephone providers nor local exchange carriers will be able or willing to provide a public pay telephone in a low-traffic facility. The commenter submitted documentation detailing a few instances where telephone companies have removed public pay telephones because the pay telephones were deemed not to be profitable.
Response. It is the covered entity that has the responsibility to ensure that the public pay telephone service is accessible to persons with disabilities and to select from the various options available on how to provide that service. In developing the interim rule, the Access Board considered the options currently available. The cost for text telephones (TTYs) generally ranges from $230 to $300 for portable devices and $700 to $1200 for those permanently installed. In addition, text telephones (TTYs) may be leased for approximately $30 a month under programs that include long-term maintenance and technology upgrade services. ADAAG 4.31.9(3) includes a provision for equivalent facilitation which permits the use of portable devices, in lieu of permanently installed public text telephones (TTYs), if the portable device is equally available during the same hours as the public pay telephone. This provision ensures equal access, and allows the entity greater flexibility in selecting a secure and cost effective method of providing access. For example, an administrative office in a town hall may provide a portable text telephone (TTY) for use in the office or at public telephones as long as the office is open to the public the same hours that the public telephone is available for use by the public. Directional signage must be provided at the public pay telephones indicating the location of the text telephone (TTY).
Comment. One commenter requested clarification of the term ``public use area''.
Response. ADAAG 3.5 (Definitions) defines ``public use'' as the interior or exterior rooms or spaces that are made available to the general public. Some entities covered under title II of the ADA may not have a public use area.
4.1.6 Accessible Buildings: Alterations. 4.1.6(1)(k) Elevator Exception. This provision states that the exception to the requirement for an elevator in ADAAG 4.1.3(5) for newly constructed facilities also applies to altered facilities. This exception was editorially revised in the interim rule consistent with the revision of ADAAG 4.1.3(5). No changes have been made to this provision in the final rule.
4.1.7 Accessible Buildings: Historic Preservation. 4.1.7(1)(a) Exception. This section addresses the requirements for access in alterations to qualified historic facilities. The interim rule contained an exception referencing provisions for program access in the Department of Justice's title II and III regulations where compliance with
ADAAG would threaten or destroy the historic significance of a facility. See 28 CFR 35.151(d)(2) and 28 CFR 36.405(b). This provision has been relocated to the appendix as it did not function as an ``exception'' to ADAAG but as an advisory note.
4.33 Assembly Areas
4.33.7 Types of Listening Systems. Information was submitted which addressed the incompatibility of some receivers with hearing aids. People who wear hearing aids often need them while using an assistive listening system. A requirement for hearing-aid compatibility was not included in the proposed or interim final rules. The Access Board intends to consider this issue in future rulemaking which would address assembly areas in general. However, the Department of Justice's regulations implementing titles II and III of the ADA require public entities and public accommodations to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication. Where assistive listening systems are used to provide effective communication, the Department of Justice considers it essential that a portion of receivers be compatible with hearing aids. This information has been added to an appendix note to section 4.33.7. Special Occupancy Sections: 5. Restaurants and Cafeterias through 10. Transportation Facilities. General provisions in each of these sections have been editorially revised to refer to ``section 4'' of ADAAG instead of section ``4.1. to 4.35'' to facilitate future revision of the guidelines.
7. Business, Mercantile and Civic
This section addresses business, mercantile, and civic occupancies. In the final rule, a reference to ``civic'' has been added to clarify the applicability of this section to state and local government facilities.
7.2 Sales and Service Counters, Teller Windows, Information Counters. ADAAG 7.2(1) and (2) require access at sales and service counters, teller windows, and information counters in State and local government facilities where goods and services are available to the public. Both provisions are existing requirements which have been editorially revised to include their application to State and local government facilities as well. Section 7.2(3) of the interim rule contained the requirements for State and local governments. These requirements are no longer necessary with the editorial revisions to 7.2(1) and (2). ADAAG 7.2(3) requires access to facilitate voice communication at counters and teller windows with solid partitions or security glazing provided in public facilities. This provision also requires that, where provided, telecommunication devices shall be equipped with volume controls complying with ADAAG 4.31.5. In the final rule, this requirement has been editorially revised and has been clarified as applying to the telecommunication devices provided on the public side of counters or teller windows.
Comment. Several commenters supported this section, while several other commenters recommended modifications. For example, one commenter recommended that knee and toe clearances be specified beneath counters. Another commenter recommended that information display screens at counters should be mounted at 43 to 51 inches from the floor.
Response. Since the counters addressed by this section are typically used for brief periods of time in the conduct of business transactions, knee and toe clearance underneath counters is not required as it is for fixed seating and tables covered by ADAAG 4.32. Requirements for the mounting heights for equipment have not been included in the absence of supporting technical data.
10. Transportation Facilities
10.4.1 New Construction. 10.4.1(8) Security Systems. This provision requires an accessible route complying with ADAAG 4.3 to be provided at each single security barrier or group of security barriers in airports covered by title II of the ADA as public facilities.
Comment. One commenter was concerned that the exemption for doors, doorways and gates to be operated only by security personnel would limit job opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Response. This provision applies to security gates at airport security checkpoints. Such gates are designed to prevent air carrier passengers from entering secured areas until they have been cleared. Normally, such gates are adjacent to unobstructed routes allowing exiting passengers to leave the secured area. Airport employees are typically allowed free access through such routes and, therefore, employees with disabilities would not need to use the security gate. A reference in this exception to ADAAG 4.13.6, which specifies maneuvering clearances at doors, including latch-side clearance, has been removed. This reference had been included in the interim rule for doors operated by security personnel since such operation precludes the need for clearance at the latch side of doors. However, since ADAAG 4.13.6 also contains specifications for maneuvering space, which is essential for passage through doors, including those operated by security personnel, it has been applied to these doors and gates. A reference to ``path of travel'' in this exception has been changed to ``circulation path'' to avoid confusion with the use of the term ``path of travel'' as it relates to alterations to primary function areas in ADAAG 4.1.6(2).
11. Judicial, Legislative and Regulatory Facilities
This section addresses those facilities where judicial, legislative, and regulatory functions occur. Judicial facilities consist of courthouses. Legislative facilities include town halls, city council chambers, city or county commissioners' meeting rooms, and State capitols. Regulatory facilities are those which house State and local entities whose functions include regulating, governing, or licensing activities. For example, this section would address those rooms where school Board meetings, housing authority meetings, zoning appeals, and adjudicatory hearings (e.g., drivers license suspensions) are held.
Comment. Two commenters requested clarification of section 11 as it applies to legislative and regulatory facilities. The commenters felt that section 11 is so courtroom specific that it was difficult to extrapolate the applicable requirements of seating for legislators, Board, council and commission members.
Response. Section 11 has been reorganized to clarify the application of requirements to judicial facilities (11.2) and to legislative and regulatory facilities (11.3). Provisions applicable to all facilities covered by section 11 have been relocated to 11.1. An appendix note to 11.3 provides examples of legislative and regulatory facilities to further clarify the application of this section.
11.1.1 Entrances. This provision requires that, where provided, at least one restricted and at least one secured entrance be accessible. Restricted entrances differ from public entrances in that they are used only by judges, public officials, facility personnel and other authorized parties, such as jurors on a controlled basis. Secured entrances are used only by detainees and detention officers. The interim rule exempted secured entrances operated only by security personnel from ADAAG 4.13.6. However, since ADAAG 4.13.6 also contains specifications for maneuvering space, which is essential for passage through doors, including those operated by security personnel, the exemption from 4.13.6 has been removed. The requirements in ADAAG 4.13 are not known to pose any conflict with security requirements for doors. References in the interim rule to accessible routes have been removed as section 4 of ADAAG requires that accessible entrances be connected to an accessible route. Similarly, a requirement in the interim rule for passenger loading zones provided for detainees has been removed as accessible passenger loading zones are addressed in 4.1.2(5).
11.1.2 Security Systems. This provision requires an accessible route complying with ADAAG 4.3 (Accessible Route) to be provided through fixed security barriers at required accessible entrances. Where security barriers incorporate equipment such as metal detectors, fluoroscopes, or other similar devices which cannot be made accessible, an accessible route is required adjacent to such security screening devices to facilitate an equivalent circulation path. This provision has been editorially revised to reference a circulation path in lieu of a path of travel. No substantive changes have been made to this provision.
11.1.3 Two-way Communication Systems. This provision requires that where a two-way communication system is provided to gain admittance to a facility or to restricted areas within the facility, the system shall provide both visual and audible signals and shall comply with 4.27 (Controls and Operating Mechanisms). No changes have been made to this provision.
11.2 Judicial Facilities
11.2.1 Courtrooms. ADAAG 11.2.1 applies to courtrooms in judicial facilities and requires access to spectator seating and press areas, jury boxes, witness stands, judges' benches, and other courtroom stations. Areas that are raised, such as witness stands, or depressed and accessed by ramps or platform lifts with entry ramps must provide a turning space complying with 4.2.3 so that the space can be entered and exited in a forward direction safely. A reference to ``depressed areas'' has been added to raised spaces and elements consistent with the provision allowing use of platform lifts in 4.1.3(5), Exception 4. Requirements in the interim rule for accessible routes, doors and gates, clear floor space, and controls and operating mechanisms have been removed from the final rule as they are addressed in ADAAG section 4.
Comment. Several commenters stated that a turning space is not necessarily required within witness stands accessed by platform lifts. Commenters provided examples of customized designs that incorporate lifts which serve as the floor of the witness stand. This should obviate the necessity for an entry ramp into the lift since the surface of the lift is level with the adjacent floor.
Response. The requirement for unobstructed turning space has been revised to apply only to raised or depressed areas accessed by ramps or platform lifts with entry ramps. Enclosures and gates cannot restrict required maneuvering spaces.
Comment. One commenter questioned whether doors to jury boxes must be automatically operable.
Response. Where provided, doors and gates must comply with ADAAG 4.13 (Doors) which does not require automated doors, but does contain other technical requirements.
Comment. In the interim rule, sections 11.2.1(2) (Jury Boxes and Witness Stands), 11.2.1(4) (Fixed Judges' Benches, and Clerks' Stations), 11.2.1(5) (Fixed Bailiffs' Stations, Court Reporters' Stations, Litigants' and Counsel Stations), and 11.2.1(6) (Fixed Lecterns) required that the maximum height of controls and operating mechanisms be 48 inches. One commenter questioned why control and operating mechanisms were restricted to a maximum height of 48 inches when ADAAG allows up to 54 inches where a side approach is provided.
Response. The interim rule provided that the maximum height for controls and operating mechanisms was 48 inches. This limitation has been removed in the final rule to allow a 54 inch side reach.
Comment. The interim final rule contained a requirement for access to fixed lecterns which required knee space at least 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep. Several commenters considered this requirement excessive in view of standard lectern dimensions. Information was received indicating that lecterns are typically not fixed in judicial facilities.
Response. This requirement has been removed in the final rule. 11.2.1(1)(a) Spectator, Press and Other Areas with Fixed Seats. This provision specifies the number of wheelchair spaces required where spectator, press, or other areas with fixed seats are provided according to ADAAG 4.1.3(19)(a). This requirement has been clarified in the final rule as applying to each type of area with fixed seats.
Comment. The interim rule required that where spectator seating capacity exceeds 50 and is located on one level that is not sloped or tiered, accessible spaces must be provided in more than one seating row. One commenter considered this requirement excessive and inconsistent with current ADAAG requirements in 4.1.3(19)(a).
Response. This requirement has been removed in the final rule.
11.2.1(1)(b) Jury Boxes and Witness Stands. This provision requires at least one accessible wheelchair space within jury boxes and witness stands. An exception allows that, in alterations, a wheelchair space may be located outside the jury boxes or witness stands where providing ramp or lift access poses a hazard by restricting or projecting into a means of egress required by the appropriate local authority. A requirement in the interim rule requiring counters in witness stands to comply with ADAAG 4.32 has been removed since this provision which may be excessive for counters provided in witness stands.
Comment. The interim rule recognized the use of portable lifts in alterations where provision of a permanent platform lift is technically infeasible. One commenter requested clarification regarding securement of portable lifts. Concern was raised that portable lifts are subject to tipping if they are not secured to the floor. Concern was also expressed over a potential hazard where a ramp or platform lift would project into the circulation paths in the well of a courtroom.
Response. The reference to portable lifts has been removed in the final rule as it is not clear that all portable lifts meet the safety standard referenced in ADAAG 4.11.2. This modification does not preclude the use of portable platform lifts provided they fully comply with ADAAG 4.11.2. In addition, the exception to this provision has been modified to allow placement of a wheelchair accessible space outside
raised witness stands and jury boxes in alterations where a ramp or platform lift poses a hazard by restricting or projecting into necessary circulation paths. The reference to technical infeasibility has been removed as that exception is already provided in ADAAG 4.1.6(j).
11.2.1(1)(c) Judges' Benches and Courtroom Stations. This provision requires that judges' benches, clerks' stations, bailiffs' stations, deputy clerks' stations, court reporters' stations, and litigants' and counsel stations comply with ADAAG 4.32 (Fixed or Built- in Seating and Tables). An exception permits designs that allow later installation of a means of vertical access without substantial reconstruction of the space. This exception has been clarified in the final rule.
Comment. A few commenters recommended that only a percentage of raised judges' benches and clerks' stations be adaptable or accessible.
Response. Due to the complexity of courtroom design and the difficulty of accommodating subsequent alterations, the Access Board believes that requiring either accessible or adaptable judges' benches and clerks' stations will significantly facilitate a reasonable accommodation for an employee in the future.
11.2.1(2) Assistive Listening Systems. This section requires each courtroom in a judicial facility to have a permanently installed assistive listening system complying with 4.33. This provision specifies the minimum number of receivers for assistive listening systems. This number must be equal or greater than four percent of the room occupant load, but in no case less than two. This requirement is consistent with ADAAG requirements for assembly areas in 4.1.3(19).
Comment. The interim rule provided that a permanently installed assistive listening system was required in only 50 percent of certain areas in judicial, legislative and regulatory facilities. Several commenters recommended a requirement for 100 percent permanently installed assistive listening systems in State and local government facilities. These commenters cited operational problems such as scheduling and the inability of staff to locate and set up portable systems. Other commenters preferred portable systems because they believe them to be more flexible, cost effective and easier to replace as technology evolves. Two commenters requested that smaller hearing rooms be allowed to provide portable systems. The commenters stated that the majority of hearing rooms are not utilized exclusively for adjudicatory proceedings but for other purposes a disproportionate percentage of the time.
Response. The Access Board has revised the final rule to require a permanently installed assistive listening system in each courtroom. A requirement in the interim rule requiring permanently installed assistive listening systems in 50 percent of hearing rooms, jury deliberation rooms, and jury orientation rooms has been removed as these areas are addressed in ADAAG 4.1.3(19)(b). The definition of ``assembly area'' in ADAAG 3.5 has been clarified as applying to those rooms or spaces accommodating a group of individuals for ``civic'' purposes.
Comment. Information was submitted which addressed the incompatibility of some receivers with hearing aids. People who wear hearing aids often need them while using an assistive listening system. Ear buds require removal of hearing aids. Headsets that cover the ear can produce disruptive interference due to hearing aid T-coils. It was recommended that neckloops and headsets that can be worn as neckloops be specified over other receiver types since they are compatible with hearing aids.
Response. The compatibility of hearing aids and assistive listening receivers is an issue that pertains not only to facilities covered in section 11 but to other assembly areas as well. The Access Board intends to consider this issue in future rulemaking which would address assembly areas in general. An appendix note has been added to the final rule recommending receivers that are compatible with hearing aids.
Section 11.8 of the interim rule required electrical outlets and appropriate wiring, conduit, or raceways in various areas, including courtrooms, to support communication equipment for persons with disabilities. This requirement has been removed as it may be too vague for purposes of design without further specification on the type of equipment to be supported. Such equipment often is portable and not appropriately addressed by ADAAG.
11.2.2 Jury Assembly Areas and Jury Deliberation Areas. This provision requires that where provided, refreshment areas and drinking fountains in jury assembly areas and jury deliberation rooms must be accessible. References in the interim rule to fixed seating and tables and vending machines have been removed as ADAAG sections 4.1.3(18) and 5.8 address access to these elements. In addition, the requirement for access to drinking fountains for people who may have difficulty bending or stooping has been removed. The final rule requires that where drinking fountains are provided, at least one comply with ADAAG 4.15.
11.2.3 Courthouse Holding Facilities. Section 11.2.3(1) applies a scoping requirement to courthouse holding facilities including central holding cells and court-floor holding cells serving courtrooms. Where provided, at least one adult male, juvenile male, adult female, and juvenile female central holding cell must comply with the requirements in this section. Central holding facilities are typically designed with sight and sound separation between men, women and juveniles. Where such cell separation is provided, the guidelines require at least one of each type of cell to be accessible. While there may be additional ``types'' of cells (i.e., isolation, group or individual cells) the definition of ``type'' is limited to adult male, juvenile male, adult female, and juvenile female holding facilities. Court-floor holding cells, however, are not necessarily designed with sight and sound separation between adult males, juvenile males, adult females, and juvenile females. For example, some courthouses have numerous courtrooms with two court-floor holding cells provided between every two courtrooms. Detainees are escorted through a secured route directly from the central holding cell to the court-floor holding cell. In such instances, this provision would require only one accessible court-floor holding cell. Such a cell may serve more than one courtroom. A clarification has been added that cells may serve more than one courtroom. No other changes have been made to this provision.
Section 11.2.3(2) contains the minimum requirements for accessible cells. In the interim rule, 11.2.3(2)(a) (Doors and Doorways) exempted doors and doorways operated only by security personnel from ADAAG 4.13.6. However, since ADAAG 4.13.6 also contains specifications for maneuvering space, which is essential for passage through doors, including those operated by security personnel, the exemption from 4.13.6 has been removed. The requirements in ADAAG 4.13 are not known to pose any conflict with security requirements for doors. This provision has also been modified to require fixed benches to provide back support (e.g., attachment to the wall).
Comment. One commenter requested that the term ``maximum extent feasible'' be applied to situations where altering the facility would require substantial demolition of the existing
components of the facility in order to come into compliance.
Response. If compliance with alterations requirements is technically infeasible, ADAAG 4.1.6(1)(j) requires that the alteration provide accessibility to the maximum extent feasible. Technically infeasible means, with respect to an alteration of a building or a facility, that it has little likelihood of being accomplished because existing structural conditions would require removing or altering a load-bearing member which is an essential part of the structural frame; or because other existing physical or site constraints prohibit modification or addition of elements, spaces, or features which are in full and strict compliance with the minimum requirements for new construction and which are necessary to provide accessibility. Any elements or features of the building or facility that are being altered and can be made accessible are required to be made accessible within the scope of the alteration.
Comment. Several combination stainless steel water closet and lavatory units are available that cannot incorporate a 36 inch grab bar behind the water closet. One manufacturer of combination fixtures stated that the two main reasons such units are specified is to reduce costs and minimize vandalism. Combination units reduce the square footage needed in cell design and reduce costs by only requiring one wall opening for plumbing connections, rather than two wall openings if separate fixtures are provided. The commenter further stated that there is a reduction in vandalism by having one large fixture mounted to the wall which makes it much more difficult to remove or destroy than a single lavatory or toilet. The commenter stated that major retooling and redesign of the units would defeat the reasons why the units are currently preferred and proposed that a 24 inch grab bar behind the water closet be allowed instead of a 36 inch grab bar.
Response. Although the use of combination units are preferred for space efficiency and security, they are generally not mandatory. An exception for the length of the rear grab bar on combination units has not been provided since separate, accessible lavatories and toilets are readily available.
Section 11.2.3(3) requires that where fixed cubicles are provided, at least five percent, but not less than one, must have the maximum counter height and knee clearance underneath as required by ADAAG 4.32 (Fixed or Built-in Seating or Tables) on both the public and detainee sides. It also requires a method to facilitate voice communication if solid partitions or security glazing separates visitors from detainees. No changes have been made to this provision.
11.3 Legislative and Regulatory Facilities
This section contains requirements for legislative and regulatory facilities. Legislative facilities include town halls, city council chambers, city or county commissioners' meeting rooms, and State capitols. Regulatory facilities are those which house State and local entities whose functions include regulating, governing, or licensing activities. This section has been clarified in the final rule as applying to public meeting rooms, hearing rooms, and chambers. An appendix note provides examples of the facilities and spaces covered by this section.
Section 11.3.1 requires access to raised speakers' platforms, spectator seating and press areas. Areas that are raised such as speakers' platforms, or depressed and accessed by ramps or platform lifts with entry ramps must provide a turning space complying with 4.2.3 so that the space can be entered and exited in a forward direction safely. For clarity, those requirements in the interim rule applicable to hearing rooms and chambers are provided in this section separately from those in 11.2 for courtrooms.
Section 11.3.1(1) requires access to at least one of each type of raised speakers' platform. This provision has been revised for clarity and a reference to ADAAG 4.32 has been removed since it may be excessive and not all speakers' platforms contain counters. Section 11.3.1(2) addresses spectator, press, and other areas. This provision has been revised consistent with a similar requirement for courtrooms in 11.2. See 11.2.1(1)(a) above.
Most city council chambers and legislative chambers contain a public address system and multiple microphones for numerous speakers. In such facilities, it is more efficient to supplement an audio- amplification system with a permanently installed assistive listening system to enable people who are deaf or hard of hearing to participate in the proceedings. Section 11.3.2 requires a permanently installed assistive listening system in each assembly area equipped with an audio-amplification system. The interim rule required a permanently installed assistive listening system in 50 percent of all hearing rooms, meeting rooms, and chambers designated for public use. As revised in the final rule, this provision is more consistent with existing ADAAG requirements in 4.1.3(19)(b). This provision differs from 4.1.3(19)(b) in that it applies without respect to occupancy load or the provision of fixed seating.
12. Detention and Correctional Facilities
This section addresses detention and correctional facilities where occupants are under some degree of restraint or restriction for security reasons and provides scoping and technical requirements for accessible cells or rooms.
This provision identifies the types of facilities covered by Section 12, including jails, prisons, reformatories, and juvenile detention centers. All public areas and those common use areas serving accessible cells are subject to existing ADAAG except the requirements for areas of rescue assistance and signage. In response to inquiries concerning the need for elevator access or complying stairs to the upper tiers of housing facilities where there are no accessible cells, an exception has been added in the final rule. Under this exception, an elevator complying with 4.10 or stairs complying with 4.9 are not required in multi-story housing facilities where accessible cells or rooms and all common use areas serving them, as well as all public use areas, are on an accessible route.
12.2 Entrances and Security Systems
This section covers entrances and security screening devices. Section 12.2.1 requires that public entrances, including those that are secured, be accessible as required by ADAAG 4.1.3(8). Entrance doors that are operated by security personnel are exempt from the requirements in ADAAG 4.13 (Doors) for door hardware, opening forces, and automatic doors. Doors subject to security requirements prohibiting full compliance with the provisions of ADAAG 4.13 are similarly exempt. The exception in 12.2.1 may apply to doors used by persons other than inmates and facility staff, such as counselors and instructors. It is important that evacuation planning address egress for all persons who may access secured areas since a person with a disability might not be able to independently operate doors meeting this exception. This consideration has been included in an appendix note. Section 12.2.2 requires that an accessible route be provided through or around security screening devices located at accessible entrances. Section 12.2.2 has been editorially revised to
reference a circulation path in lieu of a path of travel.
Section 12.2.2 of the interim rule contained requirements for entrances and passenger loading zones used only by inmates or detainees and security personnel. These requirements have been removed in the final rule as ADAAG 4.1.3(8) addresses all types of entrances except service entrances and ADAAG 4.1.2(5) addresses passenger loading zones.
Comment. In the interim rule, the exception in 12.2.1 for doors subject to security requirements required compliance to the ``maximum extent feasible.'' One comment from a State agency recommended that this term be removed because it complicates enforcement.
Response. The term ``maximum extent feasible'' has been removed from the exception in 12.2.1 and the exception has been further modified for clarity. In addition, a reference in this exception to ADAAG 4.13.6, which specifies maneuvering clearances at doors, including latch-side clearance, has been removed. This reference had been included in the interim rule for doors operated by security personnel since such operation precludes the need for clearance at the latch side of doors. However, since ADAAG 4.13.6 also contains specifications for maneuvering space, which is essential for passage through doors, including those operated by security personnel, the exemption from 4.13.6 has been removed. The requirements in ADAAG 4.13.6 are not known to pose any conflict with security requirements for doors. An identical exception in 12.5.2(1) for doors and doorways serving holding or housing cells has been similarly modified.
12.3 Visiting Areas
This section addresses non-contact visiting areas. At least five percent of fixed cubicles on both the public and secured side must be accessible under 12.3(1). Accessible cubicles for inmates or detainees are required only in those visiting areas serving accessible housing or holding cells. Section 12.3(2) requires cubicles separated by solid partitions to be equipped with devices to facilitate voice communication. These requirements are consistent with those for visiting areas covered by section 11.4.3 (Courthouse Holding Facilities). Few comments were received and only editorial changes have been made to this provision.
12.4 Holding and Housing Cells or Rooms: Minimum Number
12.4.1 Holding Cells and General Housing Cells or Rooms. Minimum Number. This section requires that a minimum of two percent, but not less than one, of the total number of holding or general housing cells or rooms provided in a facility be accessible in new construction.
The interim rule provided that at least three percent, but not less than one, of the total number of housing or holding cells or rooms provided in a facility shall be accessible.
Comment. Most comments from detention and correctional authorities considered the three percent minimum specified in the interim rule excessive in view of the demonstrated need. Several State correctional agencies recommended one percent. The Illinois Department of Corrections and 33 concurring State correctional agencies urged that the minimum not exceed two percent. One disability organization supported the three percent requirement. With respect to detention facilities, one county government recommended one percent for holding cells.
Most of the recommendations for a lower percentage were based on survey data submitted in response to the NPRM. As noted in the interim rule, among various responding States, the percentage of inmates with mobility impairments ranged from .12 to 1.35 percent and the average was .46 percent. A survey conducted by the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) provided a significantly higher average of 3.39 percent, suggesting that a wider range of disabilities, not just mobility impairments, was included. In response to the interim rule, the California Department of Corrections compiled additional survey data from States, the ASCA, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The results of that survey indicated that the average percentage of inmates with some type of disability is 1.56 percent.
Few comments provided survey data on city or county facilities. In response to the NPRM, several State entities that oversee such facilities submitted survey results. The percentage of inmates with disabilities housed in jails in Nebraska and Texas was .07 percent and .48 percent, respectively. New York City previously indicated that .25 percent of its inmate population used wheelchairs. Other estimates for local facilities ranged from less than one percent to two percent.
The three percent minimum specified in the interim rule was based in part on the aging of the prison population, a consideration several commenters raised, and existing data demonstrating that the prevalence of disability increases with age. However, comments from State correctional agencies to the interim rule indicated that the perceived aging of the prison population is not supported by current demographic data. The California Department of Corrections indicated that nationally the average age of inmates is 29.8 years and inmates aged 60 years or older comprise less than one percent of the total population based on its survey of States. The Illinois Department of Corrections documented among various States that the number of inmates over 50 years old has remained constant or increased only slightly. The highest increase reported by any State was 1.2 percent over a six year period. One comment from a county authority also considered increases in this population to be negligible.
Response. Consistent with a large majority of commenters, as well as the survey data provided, the minimum number of holding or general housing cells or rooms required to be accessible in new construction has been reduced to two percent.
Dispersion. The interim rule provided that accessible cells shall be dispersed among all categories and types of general housing and holding areas. The final rule does not contain a requirement for dispersion of accessible cells.
Comment. Many comments from State and local corrections officials reiterated arguments made in response to the NPRM that accessible cells should be required on a system-wide basis instead of for each newly built or altered facility. This would provide a level of administrative discretion operators consider essential in determining which facilities of a system are appropriate for housing inmates with disabilities. According to the commenters, the availability of certain programs, services, and staff, not just architectural accessibility, are important criteria in making this determination and that freedom of choice, a fundamental consideration in ensuring access to public housing and transient lodging, is not pertinent to the assignment of housing among inmates. The California Department of Corrections stated:
[T]he primary service of correctional facilities is to help maintain public safety through incarceration of offenders. Classification to determine placement within the system is based on many factors such as security requirements, medical needs, and other administrative determinates. Accessibility is another one of these factors
in the classification process. Given the mission of detention and correctional facilities, it is appropriate to provide equal accessibility to programs, service, and activities in an integrated environment in the most economic manner possible which includes mitigating staffing costs, making use of community resources and grouping inmates with disabilities to provide specialized services or training. The Access Board's concept that assignment polices may change and that construction opportunities applied piecemeal will eventually lead to full accessibility is clearly based on assumptions of accessibility applied to most government services and public accommodations. In a custodial setting, accessibility is only one placement consideration which applies to an extremely slight population number. . . . Accessibility can be optimally provided in a limited number of facilities much more thoroughly and economically, and with a comparable quality of providing inmate services, programs, and activities.
Similar arguments were made by the Illinois Department of Corrections in comments supported by 33 other State correctional entities. Commenters emphasized these concerns in the context of alterations where requirements for accessible cells may be triggered in existing facilities that cannot support inmates with disabilities either architecturally or programmatically. According to the commenters, provision of accessible cells in an alteration will by no means ensure that the necessary level of access to programs, services, common use areas and other amenities available to inmates will be achieved. According to commenters, providing access in some existing facilities will waste limited resources and lead to a greater number of accessible cells available only to inmates without disabilities where misuse of elements, such as grab bars, is more likely to occur. Thus, correctional authorities recommended that a percentage of accessible cells be required for the entire system instead of at each newly constructed or altered facility.
Response. New construction presents the greatest opportunity for access. Why this would not hold true for detention and correctional facilities was not clearly indicated in comments. Rather, the concerns expressed in this area are relevant primarily to the requirement for access in alterations in 12.4.5 (Alterations to Cells or Rooms). In the interim rule, this provision applied the minimum scoping percentage of new construction to the total number of cells or rooms altered in a facility. Alterations provide important opportunities for access as recognized by the ADA; however, corrections authorities make a compelling case for allowing discretion in detention and correctional facilities. Concerns of practicality, and those of feasibility raised in the NPRM, and various operational factors indicate that in many instances the cost of achieving access at many existing facilities will greatly outweigh the benefits. For these reasons, section 12.4.5 and the requirement for alterations have been reserved, thus limiting to new construction the two percent scoping requirement. This requirement has been reserved, rather than permanently removed, since it may be revisited in the future. Further, there will be instances when the opportunities for access in alterations should be considered, particularly where a system has few, if any, accessible cells. In certain cases, complying with the requirements of section 12 may be practical, technically feasible, and facilitate compliance with other ADA requirements, including those for program access. While reserving this requirement may pose confusion over the minimum level of access required in alterations, the obligation correctional entities have in providing program access may effectively and practically determine the degree of access that should be provided in an alteration. The Department of Justice's title II regulation states that public entities must operate each service, program, or activity so that the service, program, or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and useable by individuals with disabilities. Thus, the lack of a specific requirement for accessible prison alterations does not excuse a public entity from providing access to all of the prison's programs and services, when viewed in their entirety.
Comment. The interim rule contained a requirement that accessible cells be dispersed among each type or category of housing or holding cells. A few commenters recommended that prison operators have greater discretion in locating cells on a site. The Bureau of Prisons noted that according to its records inmates with disabilities are rarely housed in maximum security facilities and recommended that accessible cells not be required in this category of housing.
Response. The requirement for dispersion of accessible cells in each category or type of housing or holding cell has been removed. Thus, at sites where different categories of housing or levels of security are provided, operators need not locate accessible cells in each category or security level. A recommendation that accessible cells be dispersed among different types of holding cells and different categories and security levels of housing has been added to an appendix note.
Comment. Several commenters requested clarification that the minimum percentage applies to a facility generally and that accessible cells are not required in each building of a facility.
Response. The minimum scoping requirement of two percent is based on the total number of housing or holding cells or rooms provided in a ``facility.'' As defined in ADAAG 3.5 (Definitions), the term ``facility'' includes the buildings and structures of a site. While the percentage is based on the total number of cells or rooms that may be provided at a site, the location of accessible cells or rooms in each building is not required.
12.4.2 Special Holding and Housing Cells or Rooms. This section requires that where holding or housing cells or rooms are provided for special purposes, at least one of each type must be accessible. This includes those used for purposes of protective custody, disciplinary detention, detoxification, and medical isolation.
Comment. One correctional authority recommended that this requirement reference other purposes, including disciplinary segregation, administrative detention, and orientation.
Response. These special purposes have been added to the requirement.
Comment. The interim rule noted that ``an accessible special holding or housing cell or room may serve more than one purpose.'' One disability organization indicated that this should only be permitted where inaccessible cells also serve multiple purposes, otherwise inmates with disabilities may not have access to the same level of service provided. This comment also suggested that a recommendation be included in the appendix for a greater number of accessible special purpose cells at large facilities.
Response. The statement concerning accessible cells serving more than one purpose has been removed to ensure equivalency in the provision of access. Accessible special holding cells may serve more than one purpose where other special holding cells serve more than one purpose. Where special holding cells serve different purposes, then one of each type must be accessible. This clarification has been included as an appendix note to 12.4.2. Also added to this appendix note is a recommendation that more than one of each type should be accessible in large facilities where a number of cells of each type serve different holding areas or housing units.
Comment. One correctional agency recommended that this section should only apply to those medical isolation
cells that are specifically designed for that purpose and not general housing cells or medical care rooms that may also be used to isolate inmates for medical purposes.
Response. An appendix note in the interim rule that distinguished between medical isolation cells covered by 12.4.2 and patient bedrooms covered by 12.4.4 has been relocated to this section. Additional clarification has been added to this appendix note indicating that 12.4.2 applies to cells specifically designed for purposes of medical isolation.
Comment. One corrections agency recommended that cells or rooms used to monitor inmates or detainees likely to attempt suicide be exempt from the requirement for grab bars. Such cells or rooms are typically designed without any protrusions.
Response. The NPRM asked questions concerning grab bars and the risk of suicide. A majority of the responses did not generally regard grab bars as posing a greater risk since effective suicide prevention is based on a variety of measures, including evaluation, classification, and surveillance of inmates, not just cell design. However, the installation of grab bars may complicate the design of facilities that are used for the purpose of suicide watch. An exception to the requirement in ADAAG 4.16 (Water closets) for grab bars has been added for cells or rooms specially designed to be used solely for the purpose of suicide prevention.
12.4.3 Accessible Cells or Rooms for Persons with Hearing Impairments. This section requires access for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing in housing or holding cells or rooms equipped with audible emergency warning systems or permanently installed telephones.
Comment. One State correctional authority recommended that the scoping be reduced from three to one percent based on survey data received in response to the NPRM.
Response. The data received in response to the NPRM indicated that the population of inmates who are deaf or hard of hearing is only slightly higher than the population of inmates with mobility impairments. Consistent with the requirement for accessible cells in section 12.4.1, the minimum scoping has been reduced from three to two percent.
12.4.4 Medical Care Facilities. This section applies the requirements of ADAAG 6 (Medical Care Facilities) to medical care facilities in detention and correctional facilities. Few comments addressed this provision and no changes have been made.
12.4.5 Alterations to Rooms or Cells. This section has been reserved. See the discussion under 12.4.1 (Holding Cells and General Housing Cells or Rooms), ``Dispersion''.
12.5 Requirements for Accessible Cells or Rooms. This section contains the minimum requirements for accessible cells or rooms. These requirements, which are similar to those for holding cells in judicial facilities in ADAAG 11.4 (Courthouse Holding Facilities), are based primarily on existing ADAAG specifications, including those for transient lodging in section 9 (Accessible Transient Lodging). Requirements are provided for doors and doorways, toilet and bathing facilities, beds, drinking fountains, fixed seating and tables, benches, storage, controls, and accommodations for persons with hearing impairments. The majority of the comments received in response to this provision addressed restrooms, beds, and fixed seating and tables.
Section 12.5.2 has been revised to address those situations where a covered element or space serves an accessible cell or room but is located outside the cell or room.
(1) Doors and Doorways. This section contains an exception for doors that are operated only by security personnel or subject to security requirements prohibiting full compliance from the requirements in ADAAG 4.13 (Doors). This exception has been modified consistent with 12.2.1 and 12.2.2. (For further discussion of the modifications, see 12.2 (Entrances).
(2) Toilet and Bathing Facilities. Comment. Several commenters recommended that a grab bar shorter than the required 36 inches be permitted behind water closets so that combination lavatory and water closet units may be used. Currently, such units are equipped with a grab bar approximately 24 inches long. A manufacturer of such units indicated that developing a fully compliant unit is cost-prohibitive.
Response. An exception for the length of the rear grab bar on combination units has not been provided since separate, accessible lavatories and toilets are readily available. For further discussion, see 11.4.2 (Requirements for Accessible Cells).
Comment. One commenter recommended that floor-mounted grab bars be permitted.
Response. ADAAG does not specifically address floor-mounted grab bars. However, in some situations they may provide an effective alternative to wall-mounted grab bars so long as the requirements of ADAAG 4.26 (Handrails, Grab Bars, and Tub and Shower Seats), including the specifications for structural strength, are met.
(3) Beds. Comment. Several comments addressed the requirements for beds. One comment recommended that the minimum clear floor space required along one side of beds be 5 feet long instead of the full length of the bed. One comment from an inmate with a disability recommended that headroom between bunkbeds be specified while another commenter advised the height of beds should be 19 to 21 inches.
Response. Clear floor space 36 inches wide is required along side of beds the full length. However, elements, such as writing counters, may overlap this space so long as the required knee and toe clearance is provided. An appendix note provides some guidance on headroom between bunkbeds and recommends a height for beds of 17 to 19 inches based on existing ADAAG requirements for water closets and benches. No changes have been made to this provision.
Technical inquiries have been received concerning the number of beds that should be accessible in large barracks-style rooms with many beds. Since beds may not be fixed, a minimum number of accessible beds is not specified in this section, consistent with existing ADAAG. However, a recommendation has been added to the appendix that the minimum scoping for cells or rooms (two percent) also be applied to the number of beds in large cells or rooms with many beds.
(4) Drinking Fountains. (5) Fixed or Built-In Seating and Tables. (6) Fixed Benches. One comment concerning fixed or built-in seating and tables seemed to confuse the requirements of section 12.5.2 with those for common use areas in 12.1. Section 12.5.2 applies only to elements located within accessible cells or rooms. Those elements located outside cells for common use by inmates, such as in dayrooms which adjoin cells, are subject to 12.1 and its application of existing ADAAG for common use areas serving accessible cells. An appendix note has been added to 12.5.2 to clarify this. In addition, the requirements in 12.5.2 for drinking fountains, fixed or built-in seating and tables, and fixed benches have been modified to more clearly apply to elements located within housing or holding cells. Paragraph (4) has been modified to require ``at least one'' wheelchair accessible drinking fountain where provided within a holding or housing cell. Drinking fountains located in common use areas
are subject to existing ADAAG and its requirement that drinking fountains be accessible to both persons using wheelchairs and those who may have difficulty bending or stooping. Paragraph (5), which covers fixed or built-in seating and tables, and paragraph (6), which addresses fixed benches, has been similarly modified. In addition, paragraph (6) has been modified to require fixed benches to be mounted to the wall or provide back support.
(7) Storage. (8) Controls. (9) Accommodations for Persons with Hearing Impairments. Few comments addressed these sections and no changes have been made to these provisions. 12.6 Visual Alarms and Telephones
This section contains technical requirements for cells that are accessible to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Section 12.6 requires that where cells are equipped with audible emergency warning systems, a visual alarm complying with ADAAG 4.28.4 (Auxiliary Alarms) shall also be provided. This section also requires that permanently installed telephones, if provided in cells, shall have volume controls complying with ADAAG 4.31.5 (Hearing Aid Compatible and Volume Control Telephones). An exception from the requirement for visual alarms is provided where inmates or detainees are not allowed independent means of egress. No substantive changes have been made to this provision.
The interim final rule clarified that portable devices may be used in lieu of permanent devices if necessary wiring and outlets are provided. This was noted as an example of ``equivalent facilitation,'' a provision in ADAAG 2.2 that permits alternative designs that provide equal or greater access. Since equivalent facilitation pertains to all ADAAG provisions, this specific example has been removed in the final rule.
Comment. The Committee on Acoustics in Corrections recommended that design guidelines on acoustics developed by the American Correctional Association should be incorporated in section 12. These specifications are particularly essential in the noisy environments of detention and correctional facilities and may help prevent hearing loss caused by constant exposure to loud noise.
Response. Guidelines for acoustics have not been incorporated into this rule because none had been previously recommended or proposed and made available for public comment. While acoustics in correctional facilities is an important design consideration, it involves concerns such as prevention of hearing loss, that lie beyond the scope of ADAAG and its minimum criteria for access to the built environment. Some of these issues may be more appropriately addressed by agencies that oversee correctional systems or provide accreditation.
13. Accessible Residential Housing
In the interim rule, ADAAG 13 addressed accessibility requirements for residential facilities. This section has been reserved in the final rule.
Since the publication of the interim rule, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A117 Committee has developed a draft proposal to add new sections pertaining to accessible and adaptable residential housing to the CABO/ANSI A117.1 standard. The CABO/ANSI standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities will be revised in 1997 to incorporate these new technical and scoping provisions.
The Access Board is committed to coordinating its guidelines with private sector standards and model codes to the extent possible. The development of accessibility standards for accessible residential housing by the ANSI committee at the time the Access Board is publishing guidelines in the same area, presents a unique opportunity for the Access Board to promote greater uniformity in accessibility standards. Accordingly, the Access Board is reserving ADAAG 13 (Accessible Residential Housing) until it has an opportunity to review the final CABO/ANSI standard. Upon completion of its review, the Access Board will issue guidelines for accessible residential housing.
14. Public Rights-of-Way
In the interim rule, ADAAG 14 included provisions for new construction and alterations of pedestrian and related facilities in the public rights-of-way. This section has been reserved in the final rule.
Comment. The majority of the comments received in response to the NPRM and the interim rule concerned ADAAG 14 (Public Rights-of-Way). Commenters were particularly concerned with the application of the new construction provisions of section 14 to existing facilities. Many of these commenters, including public works agencies, transportation departments, and traffic consultants, were concerned that ADAAG 14.1 would be applied to transition plan construction, and in particular, the number, location, and design of curb ramps, in existing developed rights-of-way.
Response. Section 14 of the interim rule contained new construction provisions which were not intended to apply to existing facilities in the public right-of-way. With respect to alterations, section 14 contained less stringent scoping and technical provisions for alterations to established rights-of-way where there is site infeasibility. Few critical comments were directed to the accessibility requirements for alterations. The response to both the NPRM and the interim rule clearly indicated the need for substantial education and outreach regarding the application of guidelines in this area.
Pedestrian facility design, and in particular, accessible pedestrian design, is a new responsibility for many traffic engineers. Within the highway industry, there is disparate understanding of pedestrian accessibility criteria generally, and the application of the ADAAG 14 provisions for new construction contained in the interim rule, in particular. As a result, the Access Board has elected to reserve ADAAG 14 (Public Rights-of-Way) in this final rule. The Access Board has embarked upon an ambitious program of outreach to governmental and private-sector organizations in the transportation industry to promote the incorporation of pedestrian accessibility criteria into current and proposed industry guidelines, standards, and recommended practices. The guidelines contained in section 14 of the interim rule have been adopted by the State of Alabama and are being used to guide policies on pedestrian accessibility in the States of California, New Jersey and Florida. Several cities, including Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington have pedestrian planning requirements that are substantially similar to those contained in the interim rule.
In a future rulemaking, the Access Board will review its education and outreach program and the impact of the States' and localities' regulatory efforts in this area, and will consider publication of requirements for accessibility in the public right-of-way.
Under both the Architectural Barriers Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Access Board provides technical assistance and training for entities covered under the acts. The Access Board's toll- free number allows callers to receive technical assistance and to order publications. The Access Board conducts in-depth training programs to advise and educate the general public, as well as architects and other professionals on the accessibility
guidelines and requirements. In addition, the Access Board is developing a manual for use by both technical and general audiences. The general manual on ADAAG requirements will be a useful tool in understanding ADAAG whether for purposes of compliance or as a reference for accessible design.
Regulatory Process Matters
These guidelines are issued to provide guidance to the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation in establishing accessibility standards for new construction and alterations of State and local government facilities covered by title II of the ADA. The standards established by the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation must be consistent with these guidelines.
Under Executive Order 12866, the Board must determine whether these guidelines are a significant regulatory action. The Executive Order defines a ``significant regulatory action'' as one that is likely to result in a rule that may:
(1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities;
(2) Create a serous inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency;
(3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or
(4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President' priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order.
For significant regulatory actions that are expected to have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local or tribal governments or communities, a written assessment must be prepared of the costs and benefits anticipated from the regulatory action and any potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives of the planned regulation. In both the proposed and interim rules for accessibility guidelines for State and local government buildings and facilities, the Board determined that those rules met the criteria for a significant regulatory action in paragraph (1) above under Executive Order 12866. As a result, a Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis was prepared for the proposed rule and a Regulatory Assessment was prepared for the interim final rule. In addition to miscellaneous provisions, both the proposed rule and the interim final rule addressed the addition of four new sections to the Americans with Disabilities Accessibility Guidelines. Those sections included judicial, legislative and regulatory facilities (section 11); detention and correctional facilities (section 12); housing (section 13) and public rights-of-way (section 14).
As discussed in more detail in the Section-by-Section analysis above, there have been three major revisions made in this final rule: (1) the reserving of section 13 which previously addressed accessibility requirements in housing; (2) the reserving of section 14 which addressed public rights-of-way; and (3) the reduction of the scoping for accessible cells in detention facilities from three percent to two percent. In addition, the final rule eliminates requirements for (1) outlets, wiring and conduit for communications in judicial, regulatory and legislative facilities; (2) areas of rescue assistance in detention facilities; and reduces scoping requirements for visible alarms from three percent to two percent in detention facilities. These and other revisions have greatly reduced the economic impact previously imposed by the interim rule for State and local government facilities. The final rule has created a small increase in costs in only one aspect: in Section 11.2.2, the scoping for permanent listening systems has been increased from 50 percent of the courtrooms to 100 percent of the courtrooms. Accordingly, because the overall effect of the final rule reduces, rather than increases, the impact of the interim final rule, the Board has determined that this final rule does not meet the criteria for a significant rule under paragraph (1) above in that it will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities. Because the final rule does not meet the criteria under paragraph (1) above, a regulatory assessment has not been prepared.
The Board and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have, however, determined that this final rule meets the other criteria for a significant regulatory action (i.e., the final rule raises novel, legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates), and OMB has reviewed the final rule.
The guidelines adhere to the principles of the Executive Order. Following the issuance of the proposed rule, the Board held five public hearings in major cities across the country. Notices of the hearings and invitations to attend were sent to major state and local government entities in those areas. In addition, copies of the notice of proposed rule and the interim final rule as well as the regulatory assessments prepared in connection with those rules were mailed directly to major associations of State and local governmental entities across the country and various responsible agencies in individual states for their review and comment. Those comments were carefully analyzed and the major issues discussed in both the interim final rule and this final rule.
Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis
Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the publication of a rule requires the preparation of a regulatory flexibility analysis if such rule could have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. For the reasons discussed above, the Board has determined that these guidelines will not have such an impact and accordingly, a regulatory flexibility act analysis has not been prepared.
These guidelines will have limited Federalism impacts. The impacts imposed upon State and local government entities are the necessary result of the ADA itself. Every effort has been made by the Access Board to lessen the impact of these guidelines on State and local government entities. As discussed in more detail in the Section-by- Section analysis above, the final rule has revised the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for State and Local Government facilities and has greatly reduced the economic impact of the interim guidelines. The Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis (PRIA) prepared in connection with the proposed rulemaking and the Regulatory Assessment prepared for the interim final rule served as the Federalism Statements for those rules under Executive Order 12612. Because the overall impact of this final rule reduces rather than increases the impact of the interim rule, an additional Federalism Statement is unnecessary for purposes of this rule.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, Federal agencies must prepare a written assessment of the effects of any Federal mandate in a final rule that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. Excluded from the requirements of that Act, are provisions which (1) enforce the constitutional rights of individuals; or (2) establish or enforce a statutory right that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or disability. Guidelines promulgated pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act are therefore excluded from the application of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and a written assessment is not required for this final rule.
Enhancing the Intergovernmental Partnership
As discussed in the supplementary information above, on December 21, 1992, the Access Board published a NPRM in the Federal Register which proposed to amend ADAAG (36 CFR part 1191) by adding four special application sections and miscellaneous provisions specifically applicable to buildings and facilities covered by title II of the ADA. Executive Order 12875, Enhancing the Intergovernmental Partnership, encourages Federal agencies to consult with State and local governments affected by the implementation of legislation. Accordingly, following the issuance of the NPRM, the Access Board held five public hearings in major cities across the country. Notices of the hearings and invitations to attend were sent to major State and local government entities in those areas. In addition, copies of the NPRM were mailed directly to major associations of State and local governmental entities across the country and various responsible agencies in individual States. In response to the NPRM and the public hearings, a total of 148 people presented testimony on the proposed guidelines, 447 written comments were submitted to the Access Board by the end of the comment period, and an additional 127 comments were received after the close of the comment period. Although the latter comments were not timely, the Access Board considered them to the extent practicable. Two hundred and five of the comments and testimony received were from affected State and local governments.
In addition, following the publication in the Federal Register of the Access Board's interim rule on June 20, 1994, and the notices of proposed rulemaking by the departments of Justice and Transportation, copies of the Access Board's interim rule and the departments' NPRMs, as well as the Regulatory Assessment prepared in connection with the notices were forwarded to major State and local government associations and agencies for their review and comment. The Access Board received 246 comments on the interim rule. Almost two thirds of the comments received were from State and local governments. Many of those comments were from public works agencies, transportation departments, and traffic consultants.
The comments received in response to the NPRMs issued by the Access Board, the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation, as well as the Access Board's interim rule were carefully analyzed and the major issues are discussed in the Section-by-Section Analysis, which also indicates the Access Board's position on each issue.
List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 1191
Buildings and facilities, Civil rights, Individuals with disabilities, Transportation.
Authorized by vote of the Access Board on May 14, 1997.
Patrick D. Cannon, Chairperson, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.
Editorial Note: This document was received at the Office of the Federal Register on December 22, 1997.
For the reasons set forth in the preamble, part 1191 of title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:
PART 1191--AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES FOR BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES
1. The authority citation for 36 CFR part 1191 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 12204.
2. Appendix A to Part 1191 is amended by revising the title page, pages i, ii, 1 through 14, 14A, 15, 54, 56, 59 through 63, 67, 71 through 76; and removing pages 61A and 77 through 92 as set forth below.
3. In Part 1191, the appendix to appendix A is amended by revising pages A1, A1A, A2, A15 through A21 and removing pages A22 through A30 as set forth below.
The revisions read as follows:
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