Somerville School Disability Discrimination, CAPS letter.

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Final Resolution agreement at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21908925@N03/sets/72157625809939886/

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Somerville School Disability Discrimination, CAPS letter.

  1. 1. CAPS attempted to resolve Somerville Schools Administration Building complaint internally. October, 2009. page 1 of 8 Begin forwarded message: From: Community Access project <CAPSom@verizon.net> Date: October 4, 2009 3:13:44 PM EDT To: Gretchen Kinder <gkinder@k12.somerville.ma.us> Cc: tpierantozzi@k12.somerville.ma.us, mbastardi@K12.somerville.ma.us, mniedergang@k12.somerville.ma.us, mcardoso@k12.somerville.ma.us, pbockelman@k12.somerville.ma.us, barry.rafkind@gmail.com, <ceng@kidsclubs.org> Subject: Architectural Accessibility Code & ADA issues at School Administration Building, 181 Washington Ave, Somerville MA 02143 Dear Gretchen, and Superindendent Pierantozzi, School Committee President Maureen Bastardi, Vice-President Mark Neidergang, and Facilities Committee Members Theresa Cardoso and Paul Bockelman, Human Rights Commission Chair Barry Rafkind, and Boys and Girls Club Director Chile Eng: This is follow-up on Gretchen and my summer correspondence regarding the inaccessibility of the Somerville School Administration Building@181 Washington, Somerville, 02143. I am writing in good faith, but the message is unambiguous: unintentional discrimination has the same effect as intentional discrimination- good people are excluded, and good people will be held liable. Also, there may be a need for clarity regarding whose responsibility this is. It does not matter that the School Administration is renting from the Boy's and Girl's Club facility. This is the School's responsibility under Title II of the ADA (28 CFR 35) , and, as a recipient of federal funding (34 CFR 104). Of course, it is also necessary for the Boy's and Girl's Club to be equally accessible to all employees and participants as well. This email reviews 521 CMR (and, where appropriate, ADA), to detail the code (and
  2. 2. CAPS attempted to resolve Somerville Schools Administration Building complaint internally. October, 2009. page 2 of 8 civil rights) issues for Parking, Entrance, Door, Signage, Accessible Route and Emergency Egress- with applicable current photos of the Administration Building site. A Recommendation concludes this correspondence. (Included are some ballpark guesstimates derived from facility transition plans. I have absolutely no business or personal connection or interest with, or in, the construction industry.) These civil rights issues cannot wait for future relocation solutions! Your collaborative response is anticipated. I thank you all for caring for Somerville's most precious resources. Best Wishes, Eileen Feldman DisAbility rights Advocate, Ward 3 Community Acces Project Director 1. HP PARKING Resurfacing, restriping: ~ $6000 . You have indicated that this is the accessible Parking space. It needs a level texture throughout with a cross-slope not exceed 2% throughout. In addition, restriping is indicated. In addition, this is not yet a viable passenger drop-off spot either. State AAB code is pasted below for your convenience: 521 CMR 23.00 23.3.2 In parking facilities that do not serve a particular building, accessible parking shall be located on the shortest accessible route of travel toan accessible pedestrian entrance of the parking facility. 23.4.3 Slope: Parking spaces shall be level with surface slopes not exceeding 1:50 (2%) in all directions.
  3. 3. CAPS attempted to resolve Somerville Schools Administration Building complaint internally. October, 2009. page 3 of 8 23.4.5 Delineation: Accessible spaces shall be marked by high contrast painted lines or other high contrast delineation. 23.4.6 Access aisles: All accessible spaces shall have access aisles that comply with the following: b. Access aisles adjacent to accessible spaces shall be five feet (5' = 1524mm) wide minimum, except adjacent to van accessible spaces the access aisle shall be a minimum of eight feet (8' = 2438mm) wide. 23.4.7 Van Accessible spaces shall comply with the following: b. Each space shall have a sign designating it "Van Accessible" as required by 521 CMR 23.6, Signage. 2. Accessible Pedestrian Entrance. Reconstruction of ramp w/handrails: ~ $3,000 I have not measured the ramp for slope issues,the cross-slope might be excessive- I'll
  4. 4. CAPS attempted to resolve Somerville Schools Administration Building complaint internally. October, 2009. page 4 of 8 be happy to measure that for you, upon request. The concern I blogged about in response to your comment is about the exterior pull side clearance. (I have not seen the inside conditions.) In addition, this entrance should at least contain a reachable communication system such as an intercom, and/or be unlocked during all business/meeting hours. State AAB code is pasted below for your convenience. 521 CMR 26.00 26.6.3 a. A minimum of 18 inches (18" = 457mm) of clear floor space shall be provided on the latch, pull side of the door when the clear floor space in front of the door is a minimum of 60 inches (60" = 1524mm). see Fig. 26d. b. A minimum of 42 inches (42" = 10667mm) of clear floor space shall be provided on the latch, pull side of the door when the clear floor space in front of the door is more than 54 inches (54" = 1372mm) but less than 60 inches (60" = 1524mm) see Fig. 26g. c. A minimum of 24 inches (24" = 610mm) of clear floor space shall be provided on the latch, pull side of the door when the clear floor space in front of the door is a minimum of 54 inches (54"= 1372mm) and the door has a closer. see Fig. 26d. 3. LOCKED DOOR (see photo above)- this is a common mistake in other Somerville school facilities as well. rewiring and installment needed. ADA TITLE II The accessible entrance must be left open or unlocked during business hours. If an accessible entrance needs to be kept locked because of security concerns relating to its location, it must be equipped with an intercom or buzzer. In such cases, the button activation needs to be mounted at an accessible level (no more than 4 feet above the ground). 4. SIGNAGE (See blog at SomervilleVoices.org. Link: http://www.somervillevoices.org/2009/08/22/schools-and-youth/somsigns-lie/) Please remember to correct the existing signage and to add Accessible Entrance Signage at inaccessible entrances when this is completed. ~ $300. State AAB code is pasted below for your convenience:
  5. 5. CAPS attempted to resolve Somerville Schools Administration Building complaint internally. October, 2009. page 5 of 8 25.6 SIGNAGE Any entrance/exit of a facility not accessible by persons in wheelchairs shall have a sign clearly indicating the location of the accessible entrance/exit. 5. ACCESSIBLE ROUTE and EMERGENCY EGRESS resurfacing may be part of parking lot costing; safety solution will include handrails, perhaps intercom or safety buzzer here, to alert a staff member to come out and guide safe passage to the back alternate entrance. State AAB code is pasted below for your convenience. We know the right rear route to what is currently indicated as the location for the only accessible entrance and parking-- is a disaster from all sides: but the front entrance provides absolutely no accessible pedestrian route from
  6. 6. CAPS attempted to resolve Somerville Schools Administration Building complaint internally. October, 2009. page 6 of 8 Washington street to the alternate left rear entrance, either. 521 CMR 20.00 20.2 LOCATION Within the boundary of the site, an accessible route(s) shall be provided from accessible parking, accessible passenger loading zones, and public streets or sidewalks to the accessible building entrance they serve. The accessible route(s) shall coincide with the route for the general public. 20.2.1 At least one accessible route shall connect accessible buildings, facilities, elements and spaces that are on the same site. 20.3 WIDTH An accessible route shall have a minimum clear width of 36 inches (36" = 914 mm)
  7. 7. CAPS attempted to resolve Somerville Schools Administration Building complaint internally. October, 2009. page 7 of 8 except at doors and at openings less than 24 inches (24" = 610mm) deep where it shall comply with 521 CMR 26.00: DOORS AND DOORWAYS. 20.9 SLOPE AND CROSS SLOPE An accessible route with a running slope steeper than 1:20 (5%) is a ramp and shall comply with 521 CMR 24.00: RAMPS. Nowhere shall the cross slope of an accessible route exceed 1:50 (2%). (Refer to 521 CMR 2.4.4d) 20.11 EGRESS Accessible routes serving any accessible space or element shall also serve as a means of egress for emergencies or connect to an accessible area of rescue assistance. 20.11.2 The exit discharge shall provide a continuous path of travel from an exit to a public way by means of a walkway or a ramp. a. Where public ways are further than 100 feet from an exit, exterior areas of rescue assistance complying with 20.12.2 may be constructed along the exit discharge located no closer than 100 feet from the building. b. in buildings where the grade at the level of exit discharge prohibits construction of either a walkway or a ramp, a portion of an exterior exit balcony located immediately adjacent to an emergency exit complying with 521 CMR 20.12.2 may be constructed as an area of rescue assistance. 20.12.4 Two-way Communication: A method of two-way communication, with both visible and audible signals, shall be provided between each area of rescue assistance and the primary entrance to the building. The fire department or appropriate building official may approve a locationother than the primary entrance to the building. Any operable mechanism shall comply with 521 CMR 39.00: CONTROLS. 20.12.5 Identification: Each area of rescue assistance shall be identified by a sign that states "area of rescue assistance" and displays the international symbol of accessibility. The sign shall be illuminated when exit sign illumination is required. Signage shall also be installed at all inaccessible exits and where otherwise necessary to clearly indicate the direction to areas of rescue assistance. In each area of rescue assistance, instructions on the use of the area under emergency conditions shall be posted adjoining the two-way communication system. RECOMMENDATION ON NEXT PAGE
  8. 8. CAPS attempted to resolve Somerville Schools Administration Building complaint internally. October, 2009. page 8 of 8 RECOMMENDATION: We strongly suggest the School System invest in a knowledgeable ADA/Section 504 Evaluation Consultant to guide the Somerville School Systems to reduce the internal as well as external Access & Inclusion issues at every public school facility and also in new construction planning. Such leadership will inevitably aid the City of Somerville in early identification of avoidable cost overruns in upcoming major capital projects as well as guide the School system to overcome its legal liabilities.

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