Accessible public spaces make it easier for people with disabilities to move through and use the environment. The requirements of the standard are divided into seven sections:
- Recreational trails and beach access routes
- Outdoor public use eating areas, like those found at rest stops or picnic grounds
- Outdoor play spaces
- Exterior paths of travel (sidewalks or walkways) and their associated elements, such as ramps, stairs, curb ramps, rest areas and accessible pedestrian signals
- Accessible off-street and on-street parking spaces
- Obtaining services (service counters, fixed queuing guides and waiting areas)
- Maintenance planning
The scope of the requirements
The standard requires organizations to incorporate accessibility when:
- Building new public spaces, or
- Making planned significant alterations to existing public spaces.
Organizations are not required to retrofit public spaces to meet the requirements. This means that organizations are not required to alter their public spaces if they have no plans to do so.
Accessibility for elements related to buildings, for example, building entrances, washrooms and barrier-free paths of travel, are not addressed in this standard. They are addressed through Ontario’s Building Code.
The University must provide an annual Accessibility Plan. A Comprehensive Strategic Framework for Accessibility was developed to allow the Accessibility Coordination Team to develop an Accessibility Plan that serves the university. Within that framework, five priory areas were identified in which to address accessibility. For one of these priory areas, a Built Environment Advisory Group was formed.
The Built Environment Advisory Group (BEAG)
The role of the BEAG is to provide advice to Queen’s Facility Management on accessibility concerns, standards, and legislation, including the Design of Public Spaces Standard that assist making the Queen’s campus and its facilities accessible to everyone.
- Advise the Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities) about the requirements, procurement for, and implementation of various standards
- Review and endorse accessibility projects funded within the 5-year plan
- Review site plans and floor plans for new construction and renovation projects on capital projects of a value of $2.5M or greater and accessibility projects that receive grants