I am president of Texas Open Beach Advocates (TOBA), a group dedicated to preserving the public's right to access beaches in the State of Texas. I am writing to provide public comment on the proposed Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas.
I strongly support adoption of the proposed guidelines. The lack of enforceable regulations concerning equal access for persons with disabilities to outdoor recreational areas has resulted in many people being excluded from enjoying much of this country’s parks, nature areas and beaches for far too long.
Members of TOBA were instrumental in bringing about the first access investigation in the country of a municipality for access to its beaches when complaints were submitted against the City of Galveston. We were also instrumental in having an accessible dune walkover provided in a subdivision at the request of a family that was being harassed by other residents because they were asking for one. The harassment continues to this day.
The Texas General Land Office believes that the corrections being required by the National Park Service are too severe even though they mirror the proposed guidelines. Codifying the guidelines for outdoor recreational areas will eliminate any doubt as to the validity of corrective actions required for access should other entities be investigated.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments.
Thomas E. Brown
President, Texas Open Beach Advoctaes
6126 Sea Isle
Galveston, TX 77554