When a Roll-in Shower Really Isn’t…

Sometimes I’m a stickler for terminology, and I know that infuriates no small percentage of my friends. But as a writer, I feel that words – the correct words – are very important. Case and point is an incident that happened at a chain hotel yesterday. Continue reading

Comments on Proposed Passenger Vessel Guidelines

Here are my comments on the proposed guidelines for passenger vessels. You can submit your own comments here after reading the proposed regulations. You have until September 23, 2013, so let your voice be heard on this matter.

Continue reading

An Open Letter to Stock Clerks Everywhere

I realize that this time of year can be very busy for you, but I’d like to take a moment to point out an all too common mistake that turns a perfectly accessible store into one that wheelchair-users simply can’t use. And it’s a mistake that you’re directly contributing to, by the way you do your job. Continue reading

An Informal Study on Pool Accessibility

As I make my way across the country on this two-month road trip, I just can’t help checking out the swimming pools at the properties I stay at along the way. Not only do I really enjoy the water, but I’m also interested in seeing how many properties are taking steps to be in compliance with the new ADA accessibility regulations for pools and spas. Granted, the regulations don’t go into effect until January 2013, but I’m just curious about how we are doing right now. And although it’s far from a scientific study, here’s what I found out about pool accessibility – or lack thereof – in a wide range of properties across America. Continue reading

Top Five Access Oversights

I see a lot of accessible rooms and do a lot of site inspections in my travels; and granted, some properties fare much better than others access-wise. I’m an optimist at heart though, and believe that everyone who makes the effort to add access features to their property has good intentions. But you know what they say about the road to Hell and good intentions.

Still, I’m genuinely glad folks make the effort , especially when many are not required to add access features. Continue reading

Appellate Court Reverses Disney Segway Decision

In a 3-0 ruling on July 18, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Disneyland must make reasonable modifications to permit the use of Segways in their park , unless it can demonstrate that the device can’t be operated in accordance with legitimate safety requirements. Continue reading

Disability Rights Coalition Announces Hotel Boycott

In light of a recent decision by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to postpone implementation of the new pool lift regulations until Jan. 31, 2013, the American Association of People with Disabilities, The National Disability Rights Network, the National Council on Independent Living and ADAPT have banded together to protest the matter. Continue reading

DOJ Clears the Air at Pool Access Webinar

Yesterday I attended the first of two webinars on swimming pool access, presented by the Department of Justice (DOJ). And I wasn’t alone as over 750 other people also logged on to it. The difference was that most of the folks were from the hospitality industry – the same industry that’s been lobbying for the repeal of the latest ADA guidelines for access to swimming pools and spas. I was merely there as an observer, as I was looking for some clue as to how the DOJ might respond to the industry request for an even longer extension to the implementation of those rules. Continue reading

DOJ Flooded with Public Comments

Well in what’s probably the shortest public comment period ever — just two weeks — the Department of Justice (DOJ) has received 1358 comments regarding the pool and spa access regulations. Of course the lodging industry was well represented, with a good number of properties sending in form letters penned by their lobbyists. That comes as no surprise; after all that’s what they pay their lobbyists for.

But here’s the really cool part. Over 55% of those comments were from people with disabilities, their friends, family members, Joe Public and grass roots disability focused organizations. Most of those comments were pretty direct, and some even contained personal stories about what it feels like to be denied access, and telling the DOJ that they just want to swim and enjoy the water like everyone else. This is great, not only because of the volume of the response, but because of the tone. No form letters there! Continue reading

My Comments to the DOJ

As promised, here are my comments to the Department of Justice, in regard to their proposed delay in implementation of the access regulations for pools and spas. Feel free to use any part of it you desire for your own comments. You can submit them here, but do it today, because we only have until April 4, 2012

To Whom it May Concern

As a travel writer who has covered accessible travel exclusively for the past 16 years, I am dismayed and disappointed at the 60 day delay for implementation of the new pool and spa access regulations. And my readers feel the same way. The prevailing mantra seems to be “We’ve already waited 22 years — why do we have to endure more delays?”

And I agree, and strongly oppose the 180 day extension for implementation. For several reasons. Continue reading