September/ October 2011

CURRENT NEWS FROM THE UNITED STATES ACCESS BOARD 

ACCESS CURRENTS 

Volume 17 No.5 September/ October 2011  

 

 

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Board to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Rights-of-Way Guidelines

The Board will hold a public hearing on its proposed guidelines for accessible public rights-of-way on November 9 from 9:30 to 11:30. The event will provide an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on these guidelines which the Board published for public comment in July. The guidelines provide design criteria for accessible public streets and sidewalks, including pedestrian access routes, street crossings, curb ramps and blended transitions, on-street parking, street furniture, and other elements.

The hearing will take place at the Board's meeting space at 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800, in downtown Washington, D.C. Registration is not required, but those who wish to provide comments 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). The Board held a similar hearing in Dallas on September 12.

In addition to the hearing, comments on the Board's proposal can be submitted through Federal government's rulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov. Comments are due by November 23. Further information on this rulemaking is available on the Board's website.

Public Hearing on the Proposed Public ROW Guidelines

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

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Board Holds Public Meetings in Dallas

The Board traveled to Dallas in September to hold public meetings on various topics as part of this year's annual town meeting. Events included a hearing on the Board's proposed guidelines for public rights-of-way, a panel discussion on state code implementation, and a presentation on access to self-service kiosks. Board members also visited several area sites for a first-hand look at accessibility as it relates to rail systems, assembly areas, medical diagnostic equipment, and airports.

At the hearing, which was held on the morning of September 12, transportation departments, civil engineers, and disability groups presented comments on the proposed rights-of-way guidelines and provided feedback on specific provisions, compliance factors, and accessibility issues. In the afternoon, a panel discussion was held on implementation and enforcement of the Texas Accessibility Standards, which is one of several state codes in the nation that has been certified by the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the ADA. Panel members included representatives from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and its Architectural Barriers Advisory Committee, the Accessibility Professionals Association, DOJ, and an architectural firm who discussed development and ADA certification of the Texas access code and its implementation and enforcement, including compliance reviews and inspections. Following the panel discussion, a representative from IBM gave a presentation on access to self-service kiosks, such as ticketing machines at airports, and demonstrated an accessible model. The day ended with a town-hall open forum that invited comments from the audience on accessibility issues of interest or concern.

While in Dallas, Board members visited stations of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail system that have been renovated to provide level boarding, attended demonstrations of accessible medical diagnostic equipment at Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and traveled to Cowboys Stadium for briefings on accessible seating and sight lines, enhanced assistive listening systems, and mobile captioning technology. Before leaving town, the Board also examined access features at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Next year's out-of-town meeting will be held in Atlanta in May.

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Regina Blye Appointed to the U.S. Access Board r-blye

President Barack Obama has named Regina Blye of Austin, Texas to the U.S. Access Board. Blye is the Executive Director of the Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC) and currently serves as Chair of SILC Congress, a national group dedicated to improving the effectiveness of SILCs. She is also Vice-Chair of the Texas Disability Policy Consortium, a collection of organizations working together to advance the rights of Texans with disabilities, and serves as a board member for the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, a grassroots advocacy organization. Blye graduated from West Texas A&M University and has a degree in mass communications with a focus on broadcasting and public relations. She succeeds Access Board Member Douglas Anderson of Wheaton, Illinois.

The Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. The Board is comprised of 13 members from the public appointed by the President and representatives from 12 Federal departments.

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Access Board Webinars

The next scheduled webinars in the Board's free monthly series will cover accessible marinas and boating facilities (November 3) and schools (December 1), including elementary, secondary, and post-secondary facilities. The webinars, which are scheduled from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET), are made available in cooperation with the national network of ADA Centers. For more information, including registration instructions, visit www.accessibilityonline.org. Archived copies of previous webinars can be accessed on this site.

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New DOT Rules Address Access to Rail Stations and to Air Travel

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued a rule amending provisions in its ADA regulations to improve access at rail stations. In a separate action, DOT also proposed new requirements for access to airline kiosks and websites under the Air Carrier Access Act.dot

Final Rule on Rail Stations DOT's ADA regulations include requirements for accessible rail stations and vehicles that are based on guidelines issued by the Board. The regulations also include provisions that govern operations and services. The new rule adds a requirement for level boarding in new or significantly renovated stations so that all accessible cars of a train are usable by people with disabilities in commuter, intercity, and high speed rail systems. Alternatives to high level platforms, such as mini-high platforms or station-based or car-borne lifts, are permitted where track is shared with freight trains which require greater clearance. This requirement does not apply to existing station unless they are significantly altered. The rule, which was published on September 19, also amends or clarifies other provisions in DOT's ADA regulations.

Proposed Rule on Airline Websites and Kiosks The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) prohibits discrimination by air carriers on the basis of disability. DOT has proposed for public comment updates to its ACAA regulations to address access to airline websites and self-service kiosks. Under this proposal, websites operated by airlines and ticket agents would be required to be accessible within two years according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. This requirement would apply to both domestic and foreign carriers with websites marketing air transportation to U.S. consumers for travel within, to, or from the U.S.

As proposed, the rule would also require airlines and airports to provide access to self-service kiosks for ticketing, check-in, and other passenger services within 60 days. The proposed rule can be viewed, and comments on it submitted through www.regulations.gov. The deadline for comments is November 25.

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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.

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