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Letters to the Editor

ADA needs

September 7, 2011

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To the editor:

Since the original development application for the athletic fields near Lawrence High School, the local school district has installed additional bleachers at the softball fields, additional bleachers at the soccer fields, and additional bleachers at the baseball playing fields. The seating near the soccer and baseball has been converted to permanent seating.

The American Disabilities Act (1990), a federal statute, also requires permanently designated handicap parking for stadium seating. The Centennial Neighborhood Association has requested from the beginning of these projects that parking meet the terms of the city of Lawrence development code for special use permits, including stadium spectator seating be used to project a required amount of parking. The projects as built to date do not meet these requirements for stadium and spectator parking.

Comments

Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

The additional seating came in around $500,000.

Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

Can you imagine going to the physical therapy place at 6th and Main and have no ADA access for those who need it? Can you imagine any doctor not having an ADA approved entrance and exit system? I have taken people to the doctor where they have trouble getting into the building because of their handicap. Don't downplay these things for people who have disabilities. We need to support ADA and get these doctors on the path of helping their patients.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

Accessibility sounds great, but sometimes things get out of hand. In San Francisco, where one of the members of the Board of Supervisors (city council) was confined to a wheelchair but there was no ramp for this person to assume the lead position at the podium, so the city built a ramp. The cost, just under one million dollars. So this one person could get to the lead position, the others being already accessible. A million bucks! I owned a business where we were told to make the restrooms wheelchair accessible, as per ADA rules. We spent just over half a million dollars. Because the sidewalks were in an older neighborhood and very narrow, the city exempted itself from making cutouts in the curbs, so while no wheelchairs could possibly get onto the sidewalk, much less into my business, I still had to make the restrooms wheelchair accessible. Half a million dollars. Rules are great, but at some point common sense needs to be included.

chootspa 3 years, 3 months ago

You should have appealed it as not "readily achievable," if half a million dollars was an unreasonable expense for a business with inaccessible sidewalks. Because that's actually part of ADA rules .

jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

I consulted an attorney who said the cost to fight the regulations would cost more that 20% of the cost of the upgrades, with a possibility of success and an equal possibility of our application being rejected. If rejected, we could appeal, but that would cost even more. Meanwhile, there was a well known individual who made his living by trying to find places that were not in compliance and then suing. He frequently settled for a pretty penny. Of course, he would sue the business, not the city. I recall a deli that was in a narrow building in San Francisco. They had a order line on the ground floor and a seating area upstairs. The individual sued, saying the upstairs area was inaccessible. He wanted an elevator installed. The deli said the cost was prohibitive and would take away half the seating area. Too bad, they were told. They offered a special small seating are downstairs. No, that would make the person feel "special". To make a long story short, the deli was unable to comply and went out of business. Who wins? The person in the wheelchair? The business owner? The employees? The customers?

chootspa 3 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like it's the person suing for personal gain that needs to be shut down in that case. I hate it when jerks ruin things for everyone else.

pace 3 years, 3 months ago

"so one person could get to the lead position," don't worry, there will be more than one. The world is not just a young healthy grunts playground. All kinds of people are leading today..

pace 3 years, 3 months ago

If you wish to understand accessible issues, break your knee.

Charles L Bloss Jr 3 years, 3 months ago

I agree. The more government we have running our lives, the more common sense goes by the wayside. What you described is so stupid, it shows that every case needs to be evaluated. Laws that set limits, without common sense, is one reason this country is in such trouble.

chootspa 3 years, 3 months ago

Every case is evaluated per ADA guidelines. Everyone loves a good scary anecdote, and I'm sure there are one or twenty of them out there, but ADA doesn't actually require every single small business owner to put in a wheelchair ramp.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

The wheelchair ramp wasn't for a small business, it was in city hall. It was for a governmental entity. They had no reason to minimize cost and they clearly didn't try.

Kate Rogge 3 years, 3 months ago

"The Centennial Neighborhood Association has requested from the beginning of these projects that parking meet the terms of the city of Lawrence development code for special use permits, including stadium spectator seating be used to project a required amount of parking." What will it take for the city to enforce it's own codes to provide public access? Why bother with a city government if all they can manage to do is lie down before any and all developers?

Prairielander 3 years, 3 months ago

You can argue the value of the law, but the fact is that the district is required by that law to provide compliant parking and to date has failed to do so. Furthermore, the history of these athletic facilities has been one of frequent bending, modification and outright disregard of city codes. Unless brought to public attention, compliance doesn't seem to happen on it's own.

KU_Dude 3 years, 3 months ago

Nice letter Sven. I hope you'll consider running for city commision again so we can read your thought provoking comments here once more. I know I miss you.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

I figured it was about time for a cool front to blow through.

somedude20 3 years, 3 months ago

I feel ya brother I really do!!! I have been working with the ADA to have all of the world's basketball hoops lowered from 10 feet to 6 feet as people who are disabled by a lack of height cannot reach the rim and it makes us feel grossly inadequate. Being short (5'9) was not my fault as I was born that way so won't you please lend a hand (I was also born white and that has been a disability for me when trying to play b-ball...white and short......I want my own bathroon and a check for 50 grand!

pace 3 years, 3 months ago

what a rant, self, self, make up stories, exaggerate, whine, must be a tea. Wide doors, ramps, a grab bar by the toilet, must seem like the world is coming to an end. You keep bending that elbow and the grab bar by the toilet will seem more useful to you.

Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

I am not saying that all places of business should be ADA compliant. But certainly doctor offices should be held to that standard. I mentioned above that I have a client that goes to the the therapist every day. She cannot get into the work area and the people working there watch her struggle to get in. Since I cannot help her, I watch with great pain. If there were automatic doors and push buttons, it would be easy. That is the same with a podiatrist on the west side and a dentist on 23rd st. No ADA access so their patiens struggle. How insensitive!!

Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

What are the real degree-holding architects saying?

KU_Dude 3 years, 3 months ago

jkealing (Jonathan Kealing) says…

bronze- I've warned you privately, now I'll warn you publicly. You do not have bearded_gnome's name correct. If you don't immediately cease to attempt to out an anonymous user, your account will be banned. In addition, I will immediately ban any account I suspect to be created by you without notice, warning or further cause. This is your final warning. Jonathan Kealing Online editor

––––– How has ecologicalarchitect lasted this long Jonathan?

aka: DonJuan, susanneg, Bronze, Coltrane, Spiderman, Cool...and many other forgetable names.

KU_Dude 3 years, 3 months ago

Then why are you commenting on the ADA letter that you wrote?

KU_Dude 3 years, 3 months ago

I don't flag him either. I just realized that I had saved that comment that Jonathan had made and decided to recycle it again. I like Svens posts. It's like beating a dead horse.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

Does "...In addition, I will immediately ban any account I suspect to be created by you without notice, warning or further cause...." sound familar?

Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

BTW, I'm still having a wonderful internet life .

Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

Worth repeating:

jkealing (Jonathan Kealing) says…

bronze- I've warned you privately, now I'll warn you publicly. You do not have bearded_gnome's name correct. If you don't immediately cease to attempt to out an anonymous user, your account will be banned. In addition, I will immediately ban any account I suspect to be created by you without notice, warning or further cause. This is your final warning. Jonathan Kealing Online editor

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