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Eliminating Environmental Barriers

  • Bruce Dennis Sales
  • D. Matthew Powell
  • Richard Van Duizend

Abstract

The built environment in which we live, work and play is pervasive. We rarely escape it. Architecture is man’s attempt to tame this environment, render it functional,1 and make it aesthetically pleasing. For most people it contributes greatly to improving the quality of their lives. But for a significant portion of our population, the built environment tames their abilities and is dysfunctional for it is filled with barriers. Thus, there is a disparity between the physical environment as we have erected it about ourselves and the environment as it should be constructed to permit the large numbers of physically disabled persons2 to live and work in equality with their fellow citizens.3

Keywords

Supra Note Public Facility Judicial Review Public Building Environmental Barrier 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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    But see MASS. GEN. LAWS. ANN. ch. 22, §513A (West Supp. 1978); MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. §125.1355 (West Supp. 1977); N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. §275-C:12 (Supp. 1977); S.C. CODE §10–5–230 (1976); VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 18, §1321 (Supp. 1977).Google Scholar
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    The National Commission on Architectural Barriers to Rehabilitation of the Handicapped made several recommendations “to speed the Nation toward” the elimination of those barriers: (1) federal legislation for application to new public buildings if any federal funds are used in their construction; (2) state legislation for public buildings constructed with state funds; (3) building code revisions for application to privately owned public buildings; (4) assignment of enforcement responsibilities and resources for implementation; and, (5) public information programs. From the foregoing discussion, the first and, in some instances, the second of these recommendations have since been adopted. Noticeably lacking, however, has been any action regarding the third, fourth and fifth points. Note, supra note 1, at 225 (footnotes omitted).Google Scholar
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    One author, commenting upon this, clearly illustrates the difficulty involved: Although all the disabled are helped by eliminating stairs, the crippled are helped far more than the deaf. Manholes, access panels and excavations are of greatest peril for the blind but are also hazardous for all. The deaf require visual signals which are of no use for the blind and vice versa for auditory signals. The paraplegic must have special toilet and washroom facilities and arrangements, while the blind couldn’t care less where the mirror is located. For the persons in the wheelchair and the mobile cripple, a site is best developed which is level and without curbs and other abrupt changes. For the blind, large, level, open plazas and other areas around and among buildings, without discernible landmarks such as curbs and well-defined walks, can be traversed only by dead reckoning. ten Broek, The Right to Live in the World: The Disabled and the Law of Torts, 54 CALIF. L. REV. 841, 861 (1966).Google Scholar
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  207. 21.
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    See National Commission on Architectural Barriers, DESIGN FOR ALL AMERICANS 7 (1967).Google Scholar
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    See MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 22, §13A (West Supp. 1978).Google Scholar
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    Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. §§4151–56 (1976).Google Scholar
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    See Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal Inc., 411 U.S. 624 (1973).Google Scholar
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    See Exxon Corp. v. Governor of Maryland, 437 U.S. 117 (1978).Google Scholar
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    Note, The Forgotten Minority: The Physically Disabled and Improving Their Physical Environment, 48 CHI.-KENT L. REV. 215, 227 (1971).Google Scholar
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    These statutes, generally require that plans be submitted under professional seal. See, e.g., IOWA CODE §§114.16, .26 (1979).Google Scholar
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    Id. §1604(e)(1976).Google Scholar
  225. 39.
    Id. §1604(d)(1).Google Scholar
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    Id. §1607.Google Scholar
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    Id. §1605.Google Scholar
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    Id. §1612.Google Scholar
  233. 23.
    U.S.C. §142 (1976), as amended by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1976, Pub. L. No. 94–280, §127, 90 Stat. 440.Google Scholar
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    Federal-Aid Highway Amendments of 1974, Pub. L. No. 93–643, §105(a), 88 Stat. 2282.Google Scholar
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    The “special efforts” requirement has been narrowly construed by the courts, at least prior to the issuance of these implementing regulations. See Atlantis Community, Inc. v. Adams, 453 F. Supp. 825 (D. Colo. 1978) (Buses need not be equipped with hydraulic lifts); Vanho v. Finley, 440 F. Supp. 656 (N.D. Ohio 1977) (Separate paratransport system is sufficient — regular bus system need not be accessible); United Handicapped Federation v. Andre, 409 F. Supp. 1297 (D. Minn. 1976) (Provision of 10 small buses to transport wheelchair users is sufficient “special effort” for the Minneapolis-St. Paul area); Snow-den v. Birmingham — Jefferson County Transit Authority, 407 F. Supp. 394 (N.D. Ala. 1975) (Vehicles accessible to wheelchair users need not be provided). A number of the newer decisions indicate that the recently promulgated regulations may require a more substantial commitment to accessible design. See United Handicapped Federation v. Andre, 558 F.2d 413 (8th Cir. 1978) (Vacating the lower court judgment cited supra on the basis of the new regulations); Michigan Paralysed Veterans of America v. Coleman, 451 F. Supp. 7 (E.D. Mich. 1977). In addition, as access technology improves and accessible vehicles become commercially available, the “special efforts” mandate may require their acquisition. See United Handicapped Federation v. Andre, 558 F.2d 413 (8th Cir. 1978); Snowden v. Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, 407 F. Supp. 394 (N.D. Ala. 1975).Google Scholar
  236. 50.
    49 C.F.R. §613.204 appendix (1978).Google Scholar
  237. 51.
    Id. §609.13.Google Scholar
  238. 52.
    Id. §609.15.Google Scholar
  239. 53.
    Id. §609.17.Google Scholar
  240. 54.
    Id. §609.19.Google Scholar
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    U.S.C. §1604(1) (1976).Google Scholar
  242. 56.
    See§2(1)(c).Google Scholar
  243. 57.
    See subsection 3(2) of the model act supra. Google Scholar
  244. 58.
    See “The Adequacy of Existing Statutory Law” supra. Google Scholar
  245. 59.
    Note, supra note 32, at 225.Google Scholar
  246. 60.
    In adopting rules relating to hearings subsequent drafters may wish to consult the procedures outlined in sections 21 through 23 of the Prohibiting Discrimination model act, Chapter 2, supra. Google Scholar
  247. 61.
    See section 22 of the Prohibiting Discrimination model act, Chapter 2, supra.Google Scholar
  248. 62.
    WIS. STAT. ANN. §101.13(6) (West 1974).Google Scholar
  249. 63.
    Some tax deductions or exemptions already exist for the removal of barriers. For existing state statutes see Chart X supra. And see 26 U.S.C. §190 (1976) for federal provisions.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Dennis Sales
    • 1
  • D. Matthew Powell
    • 1
  • Richard Van Duizend
    • 1
  1. 1.Developmental Disabilities State Legislative Project of the American Bar Association’sCommission on the Mentally DisabledUSA

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