The Santa Barbara City Council today will receive an update on the recent activities and achievements of the Access Advisory Committee, including making sure the downtown dining parklets are accessible to people with disabilities.
The council will meet at 2 p.m. in its chambers at 735 Anacapa St.
In 1988, the city of Santa Barbara recognized the importance of accessibility in design and construction and started an ad hoc advisory committee to assist the Architectural Board of Review and the Historic Landmarks Commission with accessibility-related items, staff said in its report.
In 2001, this ad hoc committee became a standing committee known as the Staff Advisory Access Committee, which was renamed the Access Advisory Committee seven years later. The city’s Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator was directed to report annually to the council regarding the activities and achievements of the AAC.
Over the past year, the AAC has actively engaged in a variety of areas related to accessibility, staff said.
“The majority of AAC members have a physical disability and personally navigate accessibility challenges throughout the city on a daily basis,” staff said. “One key area of ongoing interest and concern is the ADA compliance of temporary outdoor business facilities (i.e. outdoor dining parklets on lower State Street) operating within the city’s right of way, as authorized under the City Council’s Economic Recovery Extension and Transition Ordinance through Dec. 31, 2023.”
The city said that in the past year, AAC has:
— Provided guidance and feedback to city staff on accessibility for the city’s Outdoor Dining Program.
— Had the city staff, with support from a certified access specialist consultant, perform ADA-compliance inspections of temporary outdoor business facilities within the State Street Promenade.
The first round of inspections found that 12 of 44 outdoor business facilities were ADA-compliant.
The city held multiple outreach and education sessions, in group settings and one-on-one meetings, with business owners and operators regarding ADA compliance standards and requirements. Through outreach, education, and enforcement efforts, 33 of 44 were in compliance as of Aug. 24. The majority of the remaining 11 non-compliant facilities have accessible dining areas, but don’t meet the letter of the ADA requirements, according to the city.
— Advocated for the addition of six accessible parking zones in the Downtown Plaza area, which were installed by city staff.
— Notified city staff of a non-compliant parklet on private property infringing on required disabled parking spaces, which have now been restored for use.
— Prioritized sidewalk barrier removals, such as missing access ramps, sidewalk uplifts due to tree roots, miscellaneous street furniture within the path of travel, etc.
— Advanced aspects of a Blue Curb Parking Initiative.
— Advised Public Works staff on recommended locations for the installation of new accessible pedestrian signals and recommended locations for future installations on an annual basis.
— Participated as a stakeholder in the city’s Website Application Replacement Project and provided guidance and feedback on accessibility of the city’s new website for the blind and visually impaired.
— Reviewed and provided feedback on the city’s draft Housing Element update.
— Helped the city to complete capital improvements that included 89 new and retrofitted access ramps, 140,000 square feet of new sidewalk, completion of Cabrillo Pavilion Renovation, completion of Las Positas and Modoc roads’ Multi-Use Path, completion of intersection improvements at West Carrillo/San Andres and West Carrillo/San Pascual intersections and the West Carrillo lighting corridor.
—Started the construction phase of the Central Library Plaza Renovation and the ADA Elevator Project.
— Enabled progress in the remodeling of the City Hall restrooms, now in its final design and the ADA Elevator Project, which is in design.