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Access Board Conducts Town Hall in Indianapolis

Indianapolis town hallThe Access Board held a town hall meeting on accessibility in Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 21. The event featured presentations by local speakers. Paul Jones of the National AgrAbility Project at Purdue University which helps farmers with disabilities continue to farm spoke as part of the first panel. He was joined by Ric Edwards from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources who described efforts made at various sites within the state’s system of parks and lakes to improve access to bird towers, play areas, fishing piers, trails, cabins, golf courses, and other features.

The second panel consisted of local ADA Coordinators. Greg Baden and Dustin Gilmer of the Indianapolis Office of Disability Affairs discussed their office’s work ensuring that city services and amenities are equally available to residents with disabilities. Barbara McKinney and Michael Shermis of the City of Bloomington highlighted the work they are doing to promote community awareness of accessibility requirements and the actions they have taken on behalf of individual residents to ensure access to city services.

Follwing the presentations, there was an open forum where members of the public posed questions or comments concerning accessibility. Attendees raised issues on a varity of topics, including the need for community awareness campaigns to promote accessibility and compliance, improving communication access in transit vehicles with induction loops, and the proliferation of inaccessible high-top tables in restaurants and bars. Comments also addressed the need for access to fitness facilities and improved access to playgrounds and play equipment, restroom accessibility, support animals creating issues for people with service animals, restaurant noise levels, and the need for guidance materials and resources on providing access to public streets and sidewalks. The Board also responded to questions about its work and membership.

Bill Botten presenting at the Indianapolis trainingEarlier in the day at the site of the town hall, the Board conducted a free training on the ADA Accessibility Standards for the general public. The two-part session covered how to apply the standards and common sources of confusion. It also reviewed requirements in the standards for recreation facilities and best practices for providing access to outdoor sites.

While in Indianapolis, the Board visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to learn more about access improvements that were made to the site, including grandstands, as part of a major renovation completed in 2016. The project included the installation of seven elevators and the addition of integrated wheelchair seating in prime locations in the upper level of the grandstand.

In addition, the Board visited the Indiana State Museum to examine features to improve access to exhibits for people with vision impairments and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to see accessible features of various exhibits, including venues such as the “Sports Legends Experience.” It also toured Eskenazi Hospital to see design innovations to enhance access, usability, and healing in diagnostic and treatment rooms, patient bedrooms, common use spaces, and other areas. The hospital is acquiring accessible equipment that meets Board standards for medical diagnostic equipment.

 


July Board Meeting to Feature Dialogue with Poland’s Accessibility Council

Board meeting webcastThe Access Board will hold its next meeting July 10 from 1:30 – 3:00 (ET) at the Board's conference space in downtown Washington, D.C. The public is welcome to attend in person or through a live webcast of the meeting.

The meeting will feature a dialogue via Skype with representatives from Poland’s Accessibility Council, which the Polish government created last winter to promote accessibility. Modeled after the Access Board, the new entity reviews laws and regulations and is making recommendations to the government on the implementation of a sweeping new accessibility law. It is comprised of 50 members representing ministries and government bodies, disability groups, and academia and meets quarterly.

A public comment period will be held during the final 15 minutes of the meeting. Those interested in making comments in person or by phone should send an email by July 3 to Rose Bunales at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 5 with “Access Board meeting - Public Comment” in the subject line. Please include your name, organization, state, and topic of your comment in the body of the message.

Meeting of the U.S. Access Board 
July 10, 1:30 – 3:00 
Webcast link: www.access-board.gov/webcast
Access Board Conference Center 
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 
Note: For the comfort of all participants and to promote a fragrance-free environment, attendees are requested not to use perfume, cologne, or other fragrances.

 


Upcoming Board Webinars 
laptop with Access Board logo

The next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place July 11 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will clarify requirements in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards for hotels, motels, and other types of transient lodging facilities. It will cover the required number and dispersion of compliant guest rooms and suites, including those providing communication access. Presenters will review requirements for guest accommodations and amenities, such as sleeping areas, bathrooms, storage, signage, fire alarms, phones, as well as check-in counters, fitness centers, swimming pools and spas, bars and restaurants, and conference rooms. They will also highlight common errors and omissions in the design and construction of transient lodging facilities.

Visit www.accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register for the webinars. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar
The Board also offers a free webinar series on standards issued under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires access to information and communication technology in the federal sector. The next webinar in this series is scheduled for July 30 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will explain how to create, test, and remediate PDF files to ensure access according to the Section 508 Standards. It will address common questions about PDF accessibility and review access issues, solutions, and best practices. Attendees will learn how to manually examine files for access and how to use Adobe Acrobat’s Accessibility Checker to validate and remediate identified accessibility problems. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar.

For more details or to register for this or other sessions, visit www.accessibilityonline.org/cioc-508/schedule. The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the Board.

 


Senate Bill Introduced to Address Access to Fitness Equipment

fitness iconIn April, a bill was introduced in the Senate to improve access to fitness facilities for people with disabilities. Introduced by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), “The Exercise and Fitness for All Act” (S. 1244) would promote access to exercise or fitness equipment, instruction, and classes.

It calls upon the Access Board to issue guidelines for exercise or fitness equipment to ensure that the appropriate number and type of accessible equipment is provided at a facility. The Department of Justice would be responsible for regulations to implement the new guidelines and to address exercise or fitness classes and instruction. The law also would authorize tax credits to help cover the cost of new accessible equipment. Senator Duckworth introduced a similar measure in December at the end of the previous Congress.

The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration. For further information, visit www.congress.gov.

 


 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.