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U.S. Access Board Resolves 99 Architectural Barriers Act Cases Through Corrective Action in FYs 2022 and 2023

October 31, 2023
Source: U.S. Access Board

The U.S. Access Board investigated 99 cases under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968 that were resolved through corrective action in Fiscal Years (FY) 2022 and 2023. The ABA requires access to buildings or facilities that were designed, built, or altered with federal dollars or leased by federal agencies. The Board enforces the ABA through investigating complaints from the public.

The majority of cases concerned access to U.S. post offices, which is typical of the Board’s yearly caseload. Most of the complaints involved fundamental issues affecting access to facilities for people with disabilities, such as entrance doors, particularly the opening force of manual doors, and customer parking.

Filing a complaint with the Board is easy, using the Access Board’s online form. Complaints must include the name of the facility, its location (city and state), and a brief description of the access barriers or issues. Complaints can be filed anonymously.

The Board will determine if the facility at issue is covered by the ABA and whether the facility meets the applicable accessibility standard. If the facility is not subject to the ABA or if it meets the appropriate accessibility standard, the Board will advise the complainant of its findings. Some facilities are not covered by the ABA but by other laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is enforced by other agencies and the courts; when possible, the Board refers non-ABA complaints to the appropriate agency for handling. 

If the facility is covered by the ABA but does not meet the applicable accessibility standard, the Board will work with the responsible entities to develop a plan to bring the facility into compliance. Cases remain open until all necessary corrective action is completed.

45 ABA Cases Resolved Through Corrective Action in FY 2022 

The 45 ABA cases closed in FY 2022 on the basis of completed corrective action can be segmented into four broad categories by facility type: 

  • Defense-related and Veterans Facilities: The Board successfully resolved seven ABA complaints against the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, including cases relating to the Family Camp, an Air Force Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) facility, at Travis Air Force Base, California (installation of a new accessible parking space serving the camp office and creation of accessible routes to dozens of RV campsites); the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis (major construction project to add a new wing to an existing building; the new wing is accessible and resolves the complaint allegations); and Naval Station Norfolk (improvements to accessible parking spaces serving the Navy Exchange and a third-party retail establishment). 
  • Post Offices: The Board successfully resolved 31 ABA complaints relating to U.S. Postal Service facilities, with remedial work completed at post offices in Winnsboro, South Carolina (installation of an accessible entrance ramp); Seattle, Washington (similar projects at two locations to add van accessible parking spaces and create an accessible route from the spaces to the accessible facility entrances); Hickory, North Carolina (installation of an accessible customer service counter and two accessible writing tables); and Keller, Texas (installation of four accessible parking spaces in the employee parking lot). 
  • General Services Administration Facilities: The Board successfully resolved five ABA complaints relating to facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration (GSA), including: GSA Region 6 Headquarters Building in Kansas City, Missouri (improvements to a variety of elements, such as keypads, protruding objects, and cabinetry in break rooms, kitchenettes, and copy/mail rooms, in order to bring them into compliance with the standards); the Peckham Federal Building in San Jose, California (installation of automatic door openers on several restroom entrance doors); the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Colorado (installation of compliant accessible parking spaces, curb ramps, entrance ramps, wider entrance doors, and automatic entrance door openers); and the Social Security Administration office in Culpeper, Virginia (installation of a compliant ramp from accessible parking to an accessible entrance). 
  • Other ABA-Covered Facilities: The Board successfully resolved two complaints concerning other ABA-covered facilities: the U.S. Forest Service’s Sundew Campground in the Plumas National Forest, Meadow Valley, California (installation of accessible routes to the camp’s bulletin board and cash box) and the historic Thomas Day House in Milton, North Carolina—where the Board had jurisdiction since a prior renovation of the historic site used federal grant funds from the Department of the Interior (installation of an entrance ramp by the House’s volunteer governing board). 

54 ABA Cases Resolved Through Corrective Action in FY 2023 

The 54 ABA cases closed in FY 2023 on the basis of completed corrective action can also be segmented into four broad categories by facility type: 

  • Defense-related and Veterans Facilities: The Board successfully resolved eight ABA complaints against the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, including cases relating to: Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, a Navy facility aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville (a multi-year project to install two new platform lifts in one building); The Dalles Lock and Dam, an Army Corps of Engineers facility on the Columbia River in The Dalles, Oregon (installation of four new accessible employee parking spaces); Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama (installation of two new curb ramps); the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (repair of a lift at the visitor entrance); and the Nashville VA Medical Center (repair of a parking garage elevator).
  • Post Offices: The Board successfully resolved 34 ABA complaints relating to U.S. Postal Service facilities, with major remedial work completed at post offices in: Clearwater, Florida (installation of a new sidewalk connecting the on-site public bus stop to the shopping center where the leased post office is located); Newport, Maine (installation of a new van accessible parking space and entrance ramp); New Concord, Ohio (installation of a new entrance ramp); Tallahassee, Florida (renovation of employee restrooms to install new accessible stalls); and New York City’s Lenox Hill neighborhood (repair of an automatic door at the accessible entrance). 
  • General Services Administration Facilities: The Board successfully resolved seven ABA complaints relating to facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration, including: the Robert Jackson United States Courthouse, Buffalo (installation of passenger loading zone); the Joe Evins Federal Building, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (remediation of violations related to accessible parking spaces); and a Drug Enforcement Agency building in Detroit (reconfiguration of security barriers to create exterior accessible routes).
  • Other ABA-Covered Facilities:  In addition, significant corrective action projects were completed at five other ABA-covered facilities, including: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (a multi-year effort to install compliant accessible parking spaces at the more than 20 parking lots throughout the Park); the research campus of the Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina (adjustment of manual opening forces of 30 interior doors to bring them into compliance); and the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, California, a private museum operated on National Park Service land via a concession agreement (remediation of violations at several buildings and elements throughout the campus, including multiple issues related to accessible routes, doors, entrances, exhibits, and play areas).

News source: access-board.gov/news/2023/10/31/u-s-access-board-resolves-99-architectural-barriers-act-cases-through-corrective-action-in-fys-2022-and-2023

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