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years, that the disabled population is segregated from the rest
of society, and that "discrimination against individuals with
disabilities continues to be a serious and pervasive social probler." (See section 2 "Findings and purposes," (a)(2).) I disagree totally with this premise.
It has been my experience that with determination and hard word--and with the support of family, church, friends, and voluntary associations--disabled individuals can succeed and have succeeded in today's society in such areas as education, protessional achievenent, emotional fulfillment, etc. Attitudes have changed and sensitivity has been developed toward the disabled. There are more opportunities than there have ever been and disabled individuals are enjoying the mainstream of society to a great degree.
I believe that the supporters of the ADA are sincere in their desire to afford disabled individuals the opportunity to participate in all aspects of society. Supporters believe that to ensure the disabled their "rights," the Federal government must implement sweeping reforms and legislate change. Instead, the bill will create administrative and regulatory burdens on the private sector, will encroach on free enterprise, and will expand an already swollen Federal bureaucracy.
Sure, it's not easy for ne sonetines. And sometimes I have
to wait patiently for the doors of opportunity to open. But the doors are opening and they are opening without such a broadsweeping Federal law.
Private businesses should not be required to make my life easier at their own expense. Even though advances have been nade, the needs of the disabled in assimilating with an ablebodied society are still great. And the ADA is a response to this need. However, it is still wrong to sacrifice the legiti
mate rights of others to meet this apparent need.
not justify the means. Moreover, with time, much of the need will be addressed by businesses choosing to provide accommoda
This "quick fix” may provide a surface cure for the problem, but it could result in a discriminatory attitude--and more importantly, it will undermine the constitutional rights of many.
I would love to wave a magic wand and make my life and the lives of tellow disabled individuals easier. But not if it means requiring others to sacrifice their constitutional freedom. And the one tie that binds both disabled and able-bodied allke in this country . . . 18 this freedom.
On behalf of the American Institute of Architects, the professional association representing the nation', architects, I would like to suggest Erprovenants to the Americans with disabilities Act, S.93318..2273 (tho ADA
111), specifically to the alterations section of Titl. II concerning public services, and to Tiel. III, the public ecco odations titlo.
The ALA supports the legislation's lateat, and believes that congress should sct to accomplish it. Vo ero concerned, dovever, that it needs clarification and revision to facilitato compliance and to reduce unnecessary liability for architects.
1. Readily Achienblo leroval of Architectural Herriers
The legislation requirus oxisting buildings and facilities to remove architectural barriers, upon enactaent, if the removals are *readily achievablo vhich means that they vould not cost very much and vould not be
le to do. The AIA is concerned that vharus meny barriers singly are easy and inexpensive to renovi, may facilities wy have a conbination of barriers or multiple barriors of tho sa type, for vhich removal could lapose
significant cost. The legislation could clear up this proble by requiring that removal of conbinations of barriors or of multipl. barriers of the suns. type vithin a single facility could be phased over time or handled us in alteration.
2. Alterations vs. Ne los Structural Alterations
The ADA Bill requires that 12 months after enactment, alterations to I
The legislation provides no vay of detonining when in alteration becomes •
The legislation should refer to "ujor altorations" not "major structural alterations and bese the difference betvoen i sinor and a major alteration on the cost and scope of the storation, and the degrue to which it affects • facility's usability and accossibility.
The ADA Bill ukus no provision for historic properties. The Oniton federal Accessibility Standards (UTAS) provides that when an alteration is undertaken for an historic property. corta la accessibility futurus should be Incorporated, unless to do 30 vould throaton or lategrity. Other accossibility alternatives must then be substituted. The ADA bill should apply such • standard for historic propertio It covers, If they are llotod on or olisible for tho National kegister of Historic Placos, or designated historic pur suant to state or local lav. A retoriac. to OTAS or
equivalent standard should suffice.
When the ADA becomes lav, 1t vill apply to any projects already under design, but not yet constructed. These projects may be required to comply, and thus undergo costly and complicated redesign. Because the regulations vill not yet be promulgated, the projects' architects vill be unclar as to what must be done to uke the projects comply. The AIA proposes that all projects currently under design should be exempt fron requiremonts of the act, but those receiving « design contract after the date of enactment should comply by the effective dates etablished in the bill for nav construction and alteration. In addition, to provide a safe harbor for architects designing projects after onectaent of the bill but before Issuance of final regulations, the bill should provide that conforunce to the standards of the American National Standards lastituto M12.1 1986 or the Onifon Federal Accessibility Standard (UTAS) should be denned sufficient, though not necessary. for compliance vith the legislation. These standards for handicapped access design are voll understood and accepted vithin the design profession.
The ADA bill passed by the Senate penits courts to consider good faith efforts to comply vith the legislation, in hearing complalats brought against Individuals under the acasuri. This is not enough. Architects should have son. official detenination that they have complied vith the legislation, and this detenination should constituto u defense against charges of discrlaination. This protection can be easily accomplished. The Depertbent of Justice, on the application of a state or locality. could certify that the stato or local ordinance neets the olalo standards of the legislation.
The legislation should also provide that architects and others who rocolvo state or local certification that their projects have compiled vith . DOJ-certified state or local handicapped accurs lav should have a strong defenso agalast complaints of discrimination.
The AIA bollors that the above revisions ar. Leportant to the successful achievement of the ADA's objectives. I appreciate your consideration of our suggestions.