All posts by Gisele Veilleux

Accessible Main Street Solutions. WalkAble Cities.

Accessible Main Street Solutions

Accessibility is a key ingredient to revitalizing historic Main Streets. Even though we are seeing a trend of millennials living and working in urban cores, Boomers, who have the most discretionary income, are also retiring to places that feel like a “hometown.” The faster our world becomes, the more we are all looking for places with a soul.

This week I attended the 2016 Florida Main Street Conference in DeLand, where I discovered a disability-smart solution that needs to be shared with historical downtowns everywhere!!! To solve the ADA problem of raised steps at each existing storefront, DeLand raised the sidewalks to create flush accessible entrances. This eliminated costly renovations to existing historical structures. Towards the ends of each commercial block, the sidewalks slope down to the intersection.

Two other disability-smart solutions in this photo are the landscape barrier between pedestrian and automobile traffic and highlighting the ground level surface with both color and texture changes.

I will continue posting Smart Solutions for disability concerns. Until then, please share these solutions with your downtown partners.

Service Dog ADA Laws can BITE!

Guide Dog for Blind Walking on City Street

Ignorance of ADA Laws can BITE. Is your trained for Disability Customer Service? Do they know what HOT to say to a person with a Service Dog? Is staff ADA trained to know the 2 questions are allowed to ask? Do they know that they are NOT allowed to ask a person their disability?

Recently, while traveling with a physically disabled friend and her service dog chihuahua, I was stunned by the audacity of business managers, in both a fine dining restaurant and a 4-star hotel, who demanded written service dog documentation and asked specifics about her disability.

ADA Litigation and public media should teach us not to judge who has a FAKE SERVICE DOG but to graciously welcome all guests. Random judging service dogs by breed impacts people with non-traditional service dog breeds.

ANY DOG, including REAL Service Dogs, that is unruly, has bad public manners, is not house-broken, is aggressive, or gets on the furniture or merchandise, MAY be asked to leave. The dog owner is also responsible for the cost of damages.

 

Legally ANY business may ONLY ask two specific questions. Likewise, these are the only two pieces of information that the Service Dogs Owner needs to give.

(1) Is the dog or service animal required because of a disability?

Note: Only dogs and some miniature horses are recognized by the ADA as Service Animals.

(2) What work or task has the service dog been trained to perform?

Staff is NOT allowed to:

(1) Request any documentation for the service dog

(2) Require that the service dog demonstrates its task.

(3) Inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.

If you are curious what a Service Chihuahua does, he is a heart monitor dog. He started his training when he was a few hours old, by spending hours each day sleeping on her chest. In his vest, he carries emergency medication and instructions. I know other people with Maltese’s and Tiny Terriers who are diabetes blood sugar alert dogs and seizure alert dogs

Service Dogs are expected to be Canine Good Citizens. Service DOG handlers are responsible for their dog’s actions.

Through #DisabilitySmartSolutions, we offer disability friendly customer service training based on ADA Law.

ADA Beach Pier, Can’t move the sand!

Beach Access Photo

Fishing piers must meet the 2010 ADA Standards and the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code for Building Design. Beach sand is not in the Codes.  Beach Sand is owned by the State of Florida.

Our condominium clients hired our Disability Smart Solutions team to provide a compliance inspection report as a basis for their compliance action plan.
We inspected for both the ADA and the 2012 Florida Standards for Accessible Design. This pier is one of the oldest remaining PRIVATE oceanfront piers.
This Condo Board is diligent in maintenance and wanting to meet or exceed ADA Standards.
If allowed, they would clear the sand off of the ramp as daily maintenance.
By beach laws (no specific reference), nature moves the sand and as a private entity,they may not move the sand.

The more ADA Site Inspections we perform, the more conflicts we witness between Codes.

Some of the Accessibility upgrades for this Fishing Pier include adding hand rails, adding an accessible bench and accessible adjustments to the gate latching system.
A new wheelchair accessible fishing spot is in the works for the center of the ocean end.
Any thoughts?

Disability Etiquette: Graciously Handle Potentially Awkward Customer Service Situations.

Disability Etiquette: Graciously Handle Potentially Awkward Customer Service Situations.

Disability Etiquette - Graciously Handle Potentially Awkward Customer Service Situations.


The Baby Boomers have money to spend but are slowing down from physical changes.
The population of people who live with  disabilities is 18% of the American population and growing.

Our trainers teach you the culture and special needs of different disabilities including  Hearing, Vision, Mobility Impairments, Hidden Disabilities (Learning Disabilities, Autism), as well as the special needs of people who have had the recent onset of a Disability.

  • We teach you the  tools and techniques for unexpected and occasionally  stressful new  situations.
  • We discuss gracious solutions when important instructions must be followed, when conflicts occur and when clear  communication is essential.
  • We practice real life examples with appropriate solutions.
  • Workshop participants increase their confidence and learn competence to serve the 50+ Senior and  people living with disabilities consumer segment.

We are now scheduling for our  2016/2017 Disability Customer Service Workshops.  We are available as a Florida Conference Speaker, as well as throughout the US. All workshops are customizable for our client’s audience.  Please contact us to review your needs.

 

Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design Florida Accessible Parking - Does Your parking Lot meet both the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code and the 2010 ADA? Disability Customer Service Workshop

Protect Your Gold: Tips for Retaining Senior Employees and Engaging Senior Customers.

Protect Your Gold:  Tips for Retaining Senior Employees and Engaging Senior Customers.

 

Protect Your Gold - Tips for Retaining Senior Employees and Engaging Senior Customers.

This workshop  is often taught along with “Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design“

Part I: Accommodating Older Employees Who Would Never Admit to Having a Disability

Part II:  Serving Older Customers Who Don’t See Themselves as Disabled

Customers buy experiences!
  • We discuss tips to keep aging employees comfortable and feeling valued.
  • We review sensory issues like sound, temperature, ergonomics, furnishings, lighting, parking, movement breaks, and more that lead to increased productivity through a comfortable supportive environment.
  • We discuss pathways of travel, furniture sizes, and restrooms relative to a population that is increasing in physical size.
  • We discuss how to create a supportive corporate culture where employees are comfortable revealing their changing physical needs.

We are now scheduling for Senior Housingour 2016/2017 Disability Customer Service  Workshops.  We are available as a Florida Conference Speaker, as well as throughout the US.  All workshops are customizable for our client’s audience.  Please contact us to review your needs.

Looking for more?

Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design Florida Accessible Parking - Does Your parking Lot meet both the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code and the 2010 ADA? Disability Customer Service Workshop

Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design.

Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design.

Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design

Seniors are computer savvy. They research restaurants, stores and resorts before they buy. They post more on-line reviews than any other group. Great customer service is essential.

Everyone wants to feel forever young.

  • Is your business comfortable for people with reduced mobility?
  • Do you know how Seniors choose where the dine, where they shop and where they go on vacation?
  • Do you know what to do to keep them coming back?
  • Why should you care about seniors?
    • First, they’re growing in number: By 2030, nearly one-fourth (22 percent) of Americans will be over age 60.
    • Second, they’re growing wealthier: Worldwide, the share of income for those over 60 is increasing and will continue to rise through 2020. And seniors spend proportionately more of their income on discretionary purchases like eating out than do other age groups.
    • Only 5% of people who live with disabilities are wheelchair users. Arthritis is one of the most common disabilities shared by Boomers.
    • Diminished hearing, diminished eyesight and diminished range of motion for stepping all affect the way that Boomers perceive space.
    • In this training, we talk about sensory issues and simple changes in lighting, furniture placement, sounds, textures, materials, colors, signage, temperature and other often “taken for granted” design elements may enhance the baby Boomer Consumer experience.
    • This workshop will give you the tools to make simple changes in your facility and customer service module to increase your engagement with 50+ Seniors.

We are now scheduling for our 2015 Disability Customer Service Workshops.  We are available as a Florida Conference Speaker, as well as throughout the US. All workshops are customizable for our client’s audience.  Please contact us to review your needs.

Accessibility Expert: Insights for Facility Managers

 Susan P. Berry of Disability Smart Solutions is named by Control Solutions as one of the 21 Accessibility Experts Whose Insights are Invaluable to Facilities Managers.  

THANK YOU Control Solutions for recognizing DSS as an accessibility expert.  Here’s the article.

Please contact Susan for Accessibility Inspections and Workshops.

SUSAN P. BERRY

Susan P. Berry founded Disability Smart Solutions in 2014 after 30-plus years in the Florida building design industry. The Orlando-based ADA consultant is passionate about barrier-free and accessible communities, consulting with business owners and project developers to ensure their designs serve the needs of people with disabilities.

You don’t have to live in Florida to benefit from the ideas, information and resources that Berry has on the site and social media pages.

Susan Berry, ADA Inspector
ADA Consultant for Architectural Barriers

http://controlyourbuilding.com/blog/entry/21-accessibility-experts-whose-insights-are-invaluable-to-facilities-manage

“In a way, it’s quite heartening to see how many people are working daily, nationally and internationally for the rights of those with disabilities to be fully integrated into every level of society.

That said, it has been more than a quarter of a century since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted, making it somewhat difficult to understand why accessibility is still an issue at all.

But it is: In buildings and outdoor environments, in media and entertainment, in education and employment. And with nearly 1 in 5 Americans living with disabilities, according to the 2010 US Census, that’s more than 56 million people who are impacted.

We’ve compiled a list of 21 accessibility experts, from individuals to institutions, all actively working to create a better, more inclusive world for people of every ability.”

You’ll learn; you’ll be inspired.

Florida Accessible Parking : More Rules Than ADA

ADA Accessible Parking in Florida.   Does Your parking Lot meet both the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code and the 2010 ADA?

Florida takes accessible parking seriously!  Does your parking lot meet all of the Standards to serve your guests with disabilities?

ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Measuring the width of a parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.
ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Measuring the width of a parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.

SERVICE: PARKING LOT INSPECTION

We review parking lots in Florida and the Eastern States.  Before you call us, here  are a few do-it-yourself review tips.  Please contact us for your  Accessible parking Lot Inspection.  We review parking lots for both the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible design and the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code for Building Design.

ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Inspecting the cross slopes of a shared accessible aisle of an accessible parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.
ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Inspecting the cross slopes of a shared accessible aisle of an accessible parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.
ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Inspecting the accessible path from the accessible parking spaces to the business entry. Disability Smart Solutions.
ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Inspecting the accessible path from the accessible parking spaces to the business entry. Disability Smart Solutions.

TYPES OF PARKING LOT INSPECTIONS

We inspect the parking lot based on the current state of ADA and Florida Standards compliance.  For a Parking Lot that appears compliant, are Post- Construction, or in ADA Litigation:

  • 6 Point measure of each parking space and access aisle with photos
  • 6 point measure of cross slope and slope of each parking space with photos
  • Measure and verify signage with photos
  • 6 point measure of cross slope and slope of access aisle with photos
  • Document accessible path with dimensions, cross slopes, slopes and photos.
  • Document ramps with dimensions, cross slopes, slopes and photos.
  • Document detectable warnings with dimensions, cross slopes, slopes and photos.
  • Document overhead clear with dimensions, cross slopes, slopes and photos.
  • Document Accessible Parking directional site signage
  • Document all areas applicable per Standard.

For Pre-Compliance Surveys, where remediation is obvious and necessary, we only measure the necessary areas.

Call or text Susan at 407-310-3663 to discuss your ADA parking lot compliance needs.  All projects are priced based on their individual Scope of Work.  Or send an email.

Florida Accessible Parking Space inspection for both running slope and cross slope of the parking space, access aisle and accessible path. Verifying signage. Disability Smart Solutions.
Florida Accessible Parking Space inspection for both running slope and cross slope of the parking space, access aisle and accessible path. Verifying signage. Disability Smart Solutions.

DO-IT-YOURSELF ACCESSIBLE PARKING LOT CHECK POINTS

Just for today, instead of worrying about people with invisible disabilities parking in an accessible space, I would like all of us to make sure that our parking lots are truly ACCESSIBLE and meet the needs of the accessible community.

Florida goes beyond the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design to make accessible parking comfortable for a broad population.   In order to assure that a van with a lift can fit in any accessible space, ALL accessible spaces are 12 feet wide with a 60 inch wide accessible aisle.  Everyday, I park in lots that do not have accessible aisles with each accessible parking spot.

Did you know that when you RESURFACE and/or repaint your parking lot, accessible parking spaces must be corrected to the current ADA Standard?

Did you know that a person parking in an accessible spot should always have a 44 inch wide minimum ACCESSIBLE ROUTE to the building entrance?    A person parking in an accessible spot, should never have to walk or roll behind cars, other than their own, to reach the building entrance.  Even with new construction all over Central Florida, I see parking lots without safe accessible routes.

Did you know that any type of accessible vehicle may park in the spot designated as  a “Van Accessible?”    The “VAN ACCESSIBLE” sign spot is informational, but not exclusive to vans.

Do you know why the bottom of the Accessible parking SIGN needs to be 60 inches minimum above the ground surface?  So a driver can see it!  I often find signs buried in bushes, attached to palm trees and mounted on short posts.

Florida Accessible Parking Fail. Since all Accessible Parking in Florida must be Van Accessible, many parking garages do not provide the clear head room. In this photo there are no accessible aisle, no accessible path and other community mailboxes in the accessible parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.
Florida Accessible Parking Fail. Since all Accessible Parking in Florida must be Van Accessible, many parking garages do not provide the clear head room. In this photo there are no accessible aisle, no accessible path and other community mailboxes in the accessible parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.

Did you know that there is a 98″ minimum HEIGHT CLEARANCE requirement for Accessible parking in parking garages or areas where a vehicle must pass under an overhead obstruction?  In my beach condo ADA inspections, I often find all of the accessible parking spaces are located in parking garages that do not meet clearance! Since all of Florida’s accessible parking spaces are sized for vans with lifts, the lower vertical clearance prevents many vans from using these spaces.

Are the “towing” and $250 FINE SIGNS serious?  YES.  Since 1996, all accessible spots must have the International Symbol, “PARKING BY DISABLED PERMIT ONLY.” Florida requires the penalty for illegal use of the space.

Florida Accessible Parking Sign 2016 with the required fine sign.
Florida Accessible Parking Sign 2016 with the required fine sign.

Please take a few minutes to see if your parking lot meets the ADA needs of your disabled employees and guests.  If it doesn’t, please take ACTION!  If you need an ADA Compliance Report and Action Plan for your property, we are available.

Susan’s cell: 407-310-3663

info@DisabilitySmartSolutions.com