by Jason Angel
Tucked away along the rugged Atlantic Coast lies a small village clinging to the shores like the fir trees and moss on the rocks. The little town has been there for as long as people have settled along the coast. Generations of people have come and gone just like the rise and fall of the tides.
The community built up around this little village and so did its facilities – its fire station, its library, its town hall. The new buildings have been constructed to the current standards for accessibility. The town’s buildings have weathered many storms and years, and many of those buildings were constructed in times long ago, which do not offer the accessibility of the newer buildings.
A recent survey of the town's facilities, found that the village’s town hall entrance is not accessible. Taking the recommendations of the surveyors, the town has decided to create a new accessible entrance. Many will be sad to see the town's traditional entrance – where so many have been welcomed in town meetings, weddings, and community events – the new entrance will allow entry for folks with limited ability.
Currently, contractors are working on a new entrance; however, there's a question of whether or not there needs to be 18-inch minimum space at the side of the entrance. The 18-inch minimum space is known as the maneuvering clearance and is required. This space allows people in wheelchairs and people who use other mobility-related devices to open the door beyond of the swing of the door with greater ease. The maneuvering clearance ensures a greater level of access. With the new wisdom imparted by the New England ADA Center, this little village’s Town Hall will welcome the next generations of community members – no matter what their ability.
The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design provides greater detail on entrances and maneuvering clearances. If you have further questions, call 800-949-4232 or email. firstname.lastname@example.org.