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Somerville City Hall inaccessible During Construction State Board complaint


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While the City of Somerville was reconstructing the Front Entrance ramp to City Hall, public meetings were being held without provision of adequate physical access into this facility.

Several residents called the Community Access Project and requested that we survey these issues. We surveyed the exterior of City Hall andsubmitted this complaint to the MA Architectural Access Board.

the City ADA Coordinator responded with a request to "continue the complaint until November 1, 2011."

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Somerville City Hall inaccessible During Construction State Board complaint

  1. 1. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Safety Docket Number Architectural Access Board ____________ One Ashburton Place, Room 1310 (Office Use Only) Boston Massachusetts 02108-1618 Phone: 617-727-0660 Fax: 617-727-0665 GENERAL BUILDING COMPLAINT FORM PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS FORM IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND WILL BE DISCLOSED UPON REQUEST.1. What is the name and address of the building believed to be in violation of the Rules and Regulations of this Board? Name: ___Somerville City Hall Address: _93 Highland Avenue City/Town: Somerville, MA 02143This is a time-sensitive complaint. While the front ramp is being reconstructed, access to Somerville City Hall is substantially decreased.This complaint details lack of proper signage at inaccessible front entrance, plus lack of compliant temporary accessible entrance and features, to the maximum extent feasible, at the rear delivery entrance. Photos show rusty, abrasive, non-grip ramp handrails, broken ramp landing, and non-grip door hardware at facilitys rear ramp/delivery entrance .Above left: Somerville City Hall Entrance during Summer 2011 ramp reconstruction.Above right: Google satellite view showing pedestrian path between front and rear of facility. The delivery/rear entrance is ~ 500 feet from the Front entrance and HP parking spaces. Page 1 of 6 Rev, 01/10
  2. 2. 2. What is the use of the building (please check one or more)? _x__MUNICIPAL FACILITY3. Does it appear that the building was recently constructed or renovated? Front Entrance ramp is currently under construction, July/August 20114. What date were you most recently at the building? 8/7/115. How many floors? _4 (3 plus basement)6. Please check the appropriate section(s) of the Boards regulations that you believe is being violated, then describe each section, as specifically as possible, in the space below. Please note that section numbers are from the 2006 Regulations. The code violations alleged in this complaint are named in red bolded font with yellow fill.---2.6 MAINTENANCE OF ACCESS FEATURES At all times, accessibility features must be maintained andfully operational. (i.e. access aisles kept clear at all times, mechanical devices be kept in operatingcondition, etc.). During the construction of the front entrance ramp, the following public accessibility features are not maximally compliant at the Somerville City Hall facility: -(Service) Ramp landing surface and handrails, (Service) Entrance, (Service) Door hardware, and Signage at Front and Rear Entrances.3.10 TEMPORARY STRUCTURES Temporary buildings or facilities, including … temporary pedestrianpassageways around a construction site, shall comply with 521 CMR. Temporary facilities at Somerville City Hall that do not currently comply with 521 CMR include: service entrance ramp, signage, doorway, and passenger drop-off area. 3.3.4 No alteration shall be undertaken which decreases or has the effect of decreasing accessibility or usability of a building or facility below the requirements for new construction.In this case, the City of Somerville has already undertaken alterations without first ensuring that thetemporary access entrance has been mitigated to provide accessibility and usability to the maximumextent feasible. Thus, for non-stair users, these alterations have the effect of substantially decreasingaccessibility and usability of Somerville City Hall during Summer 2011.The following pages also name violations of eight more 521CMR codes:25.6 ENTRANCE SIGNAGE41.1.3c SIGNAGE25.1.1 Service entrances 25.2 ENTRANCE APPROACH 24.5.5 Ramp handrail Size24.5.6 Ramp handrail Shape24.5.7 Ramp Handrail Surface, and24.7 Ramp SURFACES Page 2 of 6 Rev, 01/10
  3. 3. INACCESSIBLE FRONT ENTRANCE 25.6 ENTRANCE SIGNAGE Any entrance/exit of a facility not accessible by persons in wheelchairsshall have a sign clearly indicating the location of the accessible entrance/exit.41.1.3c SIGNAGE shall be provided at Accessible Entrances and inaccessible entrances shall have directionalsignage to indicate the route to the nearest accessible entrance ◦ There is no directional signage indicating the location of any temporary accessible entrance. At Front Public Entrance; the “ramp” sign is pointing to a current demolition area; and the delivery notice to the left of the “RAMP” sign does not indicate whether the rear delivery entrance can be used by people who cannot climb stairs, as the City Hall temporary accessible entrance during construction.Above: Somerville City Hall Front Entrance- no compliant signage provided. (Circled signage at left ofEntrance and HP Van-accessible parking is seen in close-up photo, below.)Above: close-up of misinformation sign pointing to demolition area where prior “RAMP” existed; and,notice for Deliveries. Notice says, “All deliveries are to be made at the rear of building.” Page 3 of 6 Rev, 01/10
  4. 4. DELIVERY (SERVICE) ENTRANCE IN REAR25.1.1 Service entrances: If the only entrance to a building, or tenancy in a facility, is aservice entrance, that entrance shall be accessible. 25.2 ENTRANCE APPROACH The approach to an accessible entrance shall be a paved walk orramp with a slip resistant surface, uninterrupted by steps. 41.1.3 (c) Accessible SIGNAGE shall be provided at c. Accessible Entrancesabove left: rear delivery ramp entrance with temporary passenger drop-off sign for individuals withambulatory impairments. The bottom of the sign is at 4 feet and hilly grade of sidewalk is shown.above, right: rear delivery entrance doorabove: rear delivery entrance ramp from foot to entrance door. This photo shows the lack of smoothpaving at foot of ramp, and the lack of any informational signage indicating whether a wheelchair-usercan enter the building here; or, if not, where an accessible entrance is located anywhere within theboundaries of this municipal facility. Page 4 of 6 Rev, 01/10
  5. 5. REAR ENTRANCE RAMPRAMP HANDRAILS The delivery/rear ramp handrails at Somerville City hall are not round or oval- andsome surface parts are flaked with rust. 24.5.5 Size: Handrails shall have a circular cross section with an outside diameter of 1¼ inches (32mm) minimum and two inches (51mm) maximum. 24.5.6 Shape: The handgrip portion of the handrail shall be round or oval in cross-section. 24.5.7 Surface: The gripping surface shall be free of any sharp or abrasive elements.RAMP SURFACES The foot of the delivery/rear ramp is crumbled and broken, not smooth. 24.7 SURFACES Ramp surfaces shall be stable, firm, and slip resistant.Above, left: ramps rusty, non-grip handrails. Above, right close -up: broken ramp landing(Please note: Complainants did not measure rear delivery entrance ramps width and slopes, nor handrail heights; nor did we measure rear delivery entrances doorway widths, vestibule, maneuvering clearances, or threshold landing slope)NOTE: Separate forms are available for complaints on Curb Cuts, Handicap Parking Spaces,Public Telephones, and Housing. Please call the office and request one or more forms. OPTIONAL INFORMATION The following information is optional, and your complaint will be processed regardless of whether or not the information is provided. However, you should be aware that the less information that is provided, the longer it will take this office to process your complaint. a. Name and address of the building owner or manager:_Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Somerville City Hall, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143 b. The Board only considers complaints with respect to buildings which are: 1.) constructed by the state, city or town, and construction, reconstruction, alteration or remodeling occurred after December of 1968; or 2.) privately financed buildings that are open to or used by the public and construction, reconstruction, alteration or remodeling occurred after June 10, 1975. The following information may be obtained by contacting the Local Building Department DATE BUILDING PERMIT(S) WAS ISSUED: __________________________________ ESTIMATE COST(S) OF CONSTRUCTION: __________________________________ Page 5 of 6 Rev, 01/10
  6. 6. c. The assessed value of the building will determine the extent that a building must comply. You may obtain the assessed value of the building by contacting the Local Assessors Office. ASSESSED VALUE OF THE BUILDING AT TIME PERMIT WAS ISSUED: Somerville City Hall is not listed separate from the Somerville High School in the online Appraisal Vision Assessors Database7. Name and address of person/organization filing this complaint (if organization is filing, pleaseprovide the Board with the name of a contact person) (required):Community Access Project- Eileen Feldman and Stacy HartPO Box 434, Somerville, MA 021438. Individual Signature (required): Please see signature scan Date: August 8, 2011 Page 6 of 6 Rev, 01/10