The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was first signed into law in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. It was modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was designed to prevent discrimination against those with physical and mental impairments.
A major portion of the ADA deals with building compliance – in other words, how do we design public buildings and public spaces to eliminate or minimize roadblocks and barriers to access for everyone, including people with disabilities? A public building is not serving its purpose if the public cannot enter.
Limited Access for People With Disabilities
How can a building or space limit someone’s access? If there are beautiful, wide ramps leading up to a building, but one has to go up or down a step (or steps) to actually enter the building, then access is limited for those with mobility issues.
A public building is not serving its purpose if the public cannot enter.
If there are wide ramps and no steps, but the building is not equipped with Braille placards, then those with limited vision might have to ask for help to make it to the bathroom or the elevator.
Is the bathroom large enough and designed to accommodate those in wheelchairs? Do the doors have appropriate handles for opening? Are water fountains installed at an appropriate height?
Solving the Problem
Here at Access Advocates, we deal with these and other building compliance issues every day. If you have encountered a similar situation, where your access to a public building — hotel, restaurant, bar, medical facility, government building, etc. — is limited by a physical barrier or other issues, please contact us. We will work with you to get the details of the problem. Then, all at no cost to you, we will work with the building owner, attorneys, architects and the federal courts to help the building owner bring the building into compliance.
Remember, access to public buildings is your right!