Designing an Accessible Playground

When designing and reviewing submittals for a new ECC (Early Childhood Center) Playground at PS 206Q and while reviewing an existing playground and whether it met accessibility requirements at PS 099K, I began to question what components of playground equipment must meet accessibility requirements and how. With Matt Jenkins assistance, we were able to locate an ADA accessibility guide dedicated to the design of playground equipment and were able to review the existing/proposed equipment at both schools. To my surprise, the existing playground equipment at PS 099K and all of the proposed components at PS 206Q met accessibility requirements largely by use of transfer platforms at both. From the US Access Board: A Summary of Accessibility Guidelines for Play Areas, "A transfer platform is a platform of landing that an individual who uses a wheelchair or mobility device can use to lift or transfer onto the play structure and leave the wheelchair or mobility device behind at ground-level.โ€ In addition to these transfer platforms allowing access to elevated play components, any ground-level play components at both schools also met the accessibility requirements.

Although both schools play equipment met accessibility requirements by use of transfer platforms, the guides accessibility requirements are based on the total number of play components and additional requirements must be met for play areas with more components. In case you are curious, here is a link to the accessibility guide: https://www.access-board.gov/attachments/article/1369/play-guide.pdf

^Existing Play Equipment at PS 099K

^Existing Play Equipment at PS 099K

-by Ryan Esparza