July/ August 2011

CURRENT NEWS FROM THE UNITED STATES ACCESS BOARD 

ACCESS CURRENTS 

Volume 17 No.4 July/ August 2011  

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Board Releases Rights-of-Way Guidelines for Public Comment

On July 26 the U.S. Access Board released for public comment proposed guidelines for accessible public rights-of-way. row-nprmThe guidelines provide design criteria for public streets and sidewalks, including pedestrian access routes, street crossings, curb ramps and blended transitions, on-street parking, street furniture, and other elements. The specifications comprehensively address access that accommodates all types of disabilities, including mobility and vision impairments, while taking into account conditions and constraints that may impact compliance, such as space limitations and terrain.

The guidelines, once finalized and implemented as standards, will apply to newly constructed or altered portions of public rights-of-way covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They will also apply to public rights-of-way built or altered with funding from the Federal government under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).

The proposed guidelines can be accessed, and comments to them submitted or viewed, through the Federal government's rulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov. Instructions for submitting comments are included in the proposal. The deadline for comments is November 23, 2011. The Board will hold public hearings on the guidelines in Dallas and Washington, DC:

September 12 (9:30 - 11:30) Sheraton Dallas, Houston Ballrooms A and B 400 North Olive Street Dallas, TX 75201

November 9 (9:30 to 11:30) Access Board Meeting Room 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800 Washington, DC 20004

For further information on this rulemaking, visit the Board's website or contact Scott Windley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (202) 272-0025 (v), or (202) 272-0028 (TTY). Those who wish to provide comments at the hearings are encouraged to contact Kathy Johnson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (202) 272-0041 (voice), or (202) 272-0065 (TTY).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Board to Hold Public Meetings in Dallas on September 12

For this year's annual out-of-town meeting, the Access Board will travel to Dallas to hold public hearings and discussions on various accessibility topics on September 12 at the Sheraton Dallas. dallasThe agenda for the day includes a public hearing on the Board's proposed guidelines for public rights-of-way, panel discussions on ADA certification of state codes and access to self-service transaction machines, and an open forum where members of the public can raise accessibility issues of interest or concern.

September 12, 2011 Sheraton Dallas 400 North Olive Street Dallas, TX

Agenda 9:00 - 9:30 Welcome by former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Board Members 9:30 - 11:30 Public Hearing on Proposed Guidelines for Public Rights-of-Way 2:30 - 4:00 Panel Discussions (ADA State Code Certification, Self-Service Machines) 4:00 - 5:00 Open Comment Session

All events are open to the public. Registration is not required. The Board requests that all participants refrain from wearing perfume, cologne and other fragrances, and use unscented personal care products in order to promote a fragrance-free environment.

For further information, contact Kathy Johnson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (202) 272-0041 (voice), or (202) 272-0065 (TTY).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

President Obama Appoints Christopher Stephen Hart to the Boardhart

President Barack Obama has named Christopher Stephen Hart of Boston to the U.S. Access Board. Hart is the Director of Urban and Transportation Projects for the Institute for Human Centered Design, an international nonprofit organization in Boston that promotes accessibility and universal design. He also serves as an appointed member of the Governor’s Transportation Advisory Reform Committee and the National Steering Committee for Project ACTION, a national organization dedicated to promoting universal access to transportation for people with disabilities. In addition, Hart served as a consultant on transportation issues for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Boston’s disability community and is a board member for the Livable Streets Alliance and the Disability Law Center. Hart succeeds Access Board Member Ronald J. Gardner of Bountiful, Utah.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Melissa Anderson Joins Board Staff as Transportation Engineer

Melissa Anderson, P.E. has been named the Access Board's new Transportation Engineer. An experienced transportation engineer, Anderson will assist the Board's development of new guidelines for accessible public rights-of-way and the update of its ADA guidelines for transportation vehicles. She will also provide technical assistance and training to the public on accessibility in transportation and pedestrian network systems.melissa-anderson

Anderson has over 17 years of experience in transportation planning and engineering for city and state governments. She joins the Board from the Missouri Department of Transportation where she developed and implemented standards and policies for bicycle and pedestrian facilities as a non-motorized transportation engineer. She also served as the Department's accessibility expert in providing technical assistance, reviewing plans for state and local projects, and implementing the Department's ADA transition plan. Before joining the Department ten years ago, she worked as a project engineer for city governments.

Anderson will assume her position at the Board later this month. She succeeds Dennis Cannon, the Board's long-time transportation specialist, who retired last year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Webinar to Review Section 508 Basics

The next scheduled webinar in the Board's free monthly series will take place September 1 from 2:30 - 4:00 (ET) and review Section 508 requirements for accessible electronic and information technology in the federal sector. Board presenters will explain the scope of the law and technologies covered and provide an overview of the Board's existing Section 508 standards. For more information, including registration instructions, visit www.accessibilityonline.org. Archived copies of previous Board webinars can be accessed on this site.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virtual Forum on Improving Access to Federal IT to be Held September 8

The U.S. Access Board and the Chief Information Officers Council will conduct an online listening session, with a dial-in option, on ways to improve access to information technology in the federal sector for people with disabilities on September 8 from 2:00 to 5:00 (E). This forum will provide an opportunity for members of the public to suggest steps the federal government can take to improve its acquisition and implementation of accessible technology under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Information is also sought on emerging technologies that may pose barriers to access. People with disabilities, advocates, technology companies, government employees and other interested parties are invited to participate.

Participants can attend by logging onto the webinar, which will be captioned, or by calling in according to the instructions posted on the Board's website. Advance registration is not required.

This session is the last in a series held over the past year as part of an administration initiative to improve the access to government information. Under this effort, the Board and the CIO Council, along with the Chief Acquisition Officers Council and the General Services Administration, have organized these listening sessions to engage with citizens, federal employees, and other stakeholders and to collect their comments, ideas, and recommendations. Previous sessions took place in Chicago (September), Washington, D.C. (December), San Diego (March), and Silicon Valley (June).

A published notice provides additional details and background information on the session. For further information, contact Tim Creagan of the Access Board at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (202) 272-0016 (v), or (202) 272-0074 (TTY).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fair Housing Accessibility First Offers Guidance on Fair Housing Act

Fair Housing Accessibility First, a program sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), offers technical guidance and training to the public on the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. Under this law, new multifamily housing in the public and private sectors must conform to guidelines for accessibility and adaptability.fhf

Fair Housing Accessibility First services are provided by the Institute for Human Centered Design, a nonprofit organization in Boston that promotes accessibility and universal design. These services, which had been temporarily suspended during HUD's contract renewal, are again available to the public. For technical assistance, training, and resources on the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines, call (888) 341-7781 (V/ TTY), send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (email), or visit the www.fairhousingfirst.org website.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Access Currents is a free newsletter issued by the Access Board every other month by mail and e-mail. Send questions or comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (800) 872-2253 ext. 0026 (voice) or (800) 993-2822 (TTY). Mailing address: 1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 1000; Washington, D.C. 20004-1111.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------