ADA Transition Plan
Allen Parks and Recreation is working to make the city's parks, trails and facilities more accessible and enjoyable for everyone, while also ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). With the help of a consulting firm which specializes in accessibility planning, the department is collected data on current amenities and asked for public input to help set future priorities.
Data collection began in Spring 2023 followed by a public input process in Summer 2023. More than 125 people participated in public input meetings and feedback opportunities. A final report will be presented to Allen City Council in late summer 2023.
The City of Allen Parks and Recreation Department selected Direct Access to assist with data collection on the accessibility for current parks and recreation facilities. Direct Access is an international consulting firm which provides emerging best practices for accessibility and the daily life experiences of its staff, as 86% of its team are people with disabilities.
President Steven Mifsud, MBE, who has been profoundly deaf since birth and has a cochlear implant, founded Direct Access Consultancy in 2004 after working as the Access Officer for the historic City of Chester in England. Mifsud’s goal for this project is to close the gap between meeting ADA standards and becoming truly inclusive for everyone. He says accessibility goes beyond just the physical environment; it also includes social and digital accessibility.
“Accessibility doesn’t start once you arrive at an ADA parking space,” Mifsud said. “It starts at home when you’re thinking about going to a park. Then you research the trip there, enjoy the facility, and go back home and share with others the experience you had at the park.”
Direct Access partnered with local accessibility experts Cole & Associates to assess the condition of outdoor walkways and other pedestrian surfaces. Their Segway-fitted ultra-light inertial profiler (ULIP) scans and collects precise data about paved surfaces at Allen parks, trails and recreation facilities. The data is used to help identify possible projects to bring the city closer to full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Two public engagement meetings were held June 12 and 14, 2023. A video of the presentation, which includes both captions and American Sign Language interpretation, is available below.
Online surveys and email/voicemail feedback opportunities were offered through July 6, 2023 at Engage.CityofAllen.org.
Direct Access will prepare a report for Allen Parks & Recreation which provides recommendations and suggested priorities based on data collection and public input. The final report is expected to be completed in late summer 2023 to help guide future decisions on parks and trail projects, facility upgrades, grant applications and budget priorities.