Ribbons for Access: Treading Lightly in the Forest, Hard in the Concrete Jungle

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Ribbons for Access: Treading Lightly in the Forest, Hard in the Concrete Jungle  Lower Mainland and Local Government Association – May 12, 2011 Conference Presentation

 

Our principal, Donna, and Petra Frederick, the Recreation Access Coordinator for the District of Maple Ridge and City of Pitt Meadows, Parks and Leisure Services shared the municipal process in the research and development of the booklet called the Universal Design Guidelines for Outdoor Spaces:  Plan and Design for Choice in a workshop entitled Wheeling and Dealing – challenging the status quo during the LMLGA 2011 Conference.  The event was attended by elected officials, planners, and design professionals.  A historical review of the equitable model of Universal Design was presented together with applied and practical, accessible solutions to the natural and built environments for both wheelchair access and wayfinding by everyone.  Particular attention was paid to the design of crosswalks at major intersections, midpoint crosswalks, and naturalized trail systems that required trail difficulty ratings. 

 

Emphasize was placed on health, safety, consistency and education as well as the need for professionals, that include planners and designers, to have in hand the Canadian Standards Association design guidelines entitled Accessible Design for the Built Environment (B651-04), recent editions of the BC Building Code, and copies of the The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

 

Participants were supervised while walking briefly over tactile surfaces using handheld vision cards over one eye.  The exercise was developed to help participants understand the eye conditions of macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and total blindness and their effects on ambulation while also understanding the need for hazardous tactile warning strips at the edge of curb ramps and curb fans. 

A copy of Universal Design Guidelines for Outdoor Spaces:  Plan and Design for Choice is available as a PDF (free download) from the District of Maple Ridge website or the City of Pitt Meadows website.  Paper copies are available by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or calling 604-467-7355.

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