A lot of Somervillians care about inclusion. When John Kelly, Chair of the Boston Disabilities Commission stated, in the Public Safety Committee hearing last night, that he used to come to Davis Square, and loves the funky place– but, since the bricks were laid 20 years ago, “I just don’t feel welcome,” it prompted resident C. Murrow to say to the Committee and everyone present,
“I don’t want my tax dollars paying for anything where John doesn’t feel welcome!”
A lot of stores and organizations carry the weight of unintentional barriers.
Here are 10 examples of easily removable barriers, with easy-to-implement solutions (from my article called Pass the Green Dumpster Please: Making Your Business Accessible, July, 2009):
- One-step entrance: replace step with slip-resistant ramp.
- Service counters too high: replace with counters between 28 and 34 inches high.
- Hard-to-grip door hardware: replace with levers or loop handles.
- Too-narrow entrance: install offset hinges to widen doorways to at least 32 inches when fully open.
- Too-high thresholds: bevel all thresholds to be less than one-half inch high.
- No inclusive parking: re-stripe parking lots to include van-accessible parking spaces.
- Not level or smooth path to entrance: replace entryway gravel and brick materials with hardtop.
- Impassable aisles to goods and services: rearrange aisles to be at least 36 inches clear, and with cane-detectable edges under all shelves and displays.
- Tripping hazards: use low-pile, tightly woven carpeting and securely attach along all edges.
- No wayfinding to goods and services: provide signs and room names/numbers in large print with high contrast, and include Braille signage wherever signage is required.
The IRS offers ADA tax incentives. Here are two:
1. Small business can claim a Disabled Access Tax Credit of up to $5,000 to offset these costs for access — see IRS Code, Section 44.
2. Larger businesses can claim up to $15,000 per year for expenses associated with the removal of architectural and transportation barriers; and, for the provision of accessible information and communications — see IRS Code, Section 190.
Here is a good online resource, Tax Incentives Packet on the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Please blog about your Barrier Busting activities in Somerville!