Department of Environmental Studies
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that advances opportunities for millions of people with disabilities. The law was intended to open doors for more than 43 million individuals in private sector employment, all public services, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications. The ADA accomplishes this goal by setting standards for employment policies and practices as well as for the premises of public accommodations and commercial buildings. And architectural barrier is a man-made element – or lack of an element –that controls or limits access to or use of the physical environment. Title 11 of the Americans With Disabilities Act became effective January 26, 1992, and relates to public accommodations and services operated by private entities and state and local governments. The city of Springfield, Massachusetts, in response to the ADA, has set a goal of creating disabled access at two of its conservation areas within the next 5 years. To meet this goal, a variety of compliance issues come into play that requires consideration, not only the ADA, but also legislation that has been enacted to protect and preserve the city’s natural resources. The purpose of this “Accessibility Design Guide” is to provide through examination of the laws and regulations that affect the city’s ability to achieve its goal to develop an access plan for the Venture Pond Conservation Area that can be used to guide planners towards the appropriate preservation and accessibility actions to meet present and future needs.