In the ordinary course of business, one notices accessible route problems throughout Union Square’s Somerville Reconstruction Project area. During construction, it is very important for the City to maintain continuous, unobstructed, level and safe sidewalks, as well as safe curbcuts and walkways for everyone.
The State Architectural Access Board (AAB) was established by M.G.L. Chapter 22, Section 13A. They have developed a set of building code requirements that (when adhered to) allow full use of public buildings and facilities. This “specialized code” is linked in various formats from here.
Because of the AAB’s skill, knowledge, and hard work, Massachusetts residents can easily notify our municipal deciders what’s wrong and why for various building types, interior and exterior elements and spaces, and dwelling units. The authority of the AAB kicks in whenever any public building or facility undergoes construction, renovations, or alterations. These access building code Rules and Regulations should also be adhered to whenever there is a change in the use of a building from private to public.
The AAB Regulations are, in most cases, as stringent as the Federal ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). (There are some gaps, which I’ll cover in another post at some point).
Local building inspectors are supposed to be knowledgeable about this code, which has been developed and amended since 1968. When you are filing a complaint about any public building or business place that is inaccessible (it’s best to first try to achieve access compliance in a good faith effort with the business or municipality, if possible!) , it is helpful to give the AAB information about when the building permits were issued, in order for them to assess which regulations are triggered. (There are regulations from ’68, ’75, ’77, ’82, ’87, ’96, and 2002- just imagine how busy the (three) AAB inspectors are when reviewing all the complaints from within the Commonwealth each year!)
Today I submitted one complaint to the City for a thoughtless placing of the yellow barrels at the Union Square intersection at Bow and Somerville.
“TO: Terence Smith (Terry is a site manager for the Reconstruction Project)
Carlene Campbell (CCampbell is the Mayor’s designated ADA Coordinator)
Hi Terry and Carlene,
from AAB regs. 521.22.2 CMR: “An unobstructed path of travel shall be provided which is at least 36 inches (36″ = 914mm) clear, excluding curb stones…”
The Accessible route requirement that I quoted from is found here.