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Friday, July 14, 2000

City & County of Honolulu

Bandstand access
being refined,
official says

Plans sent to the state
may omit changes made,
the design director says

By Helen Altonn


A review of plans for the city's newly opened Kapiolani Park bandstand shows seating is the biggest problem in meeting disability guidelines, says Francine Wai.

Art The problems are "all correctable without having to undo much," said Wai, executive director of the State Disability and Communication Access Board. "They just have to do more."

Gary Yee, director of the city Department of Design and Construction, said today that the contractor is still on the site trying to finish various things.

"Obviously, we cannot have a facility that has any violations, so all of them will be addressed by the time we finish the project, and most of them have already been addressed."

Yee's department approved the bandstand plans on July 23, last year. They were delivered last Thursday to Wai's office.

Final building plans are supposed to be submitted to that office before construction to determine compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines.

Yee said, "We didn't actually finish the plans with all the things on it until very late in the construction project. Some of the things she's reviewing have never been in the plans and will go in "as built.'"

Wai sent a list of deficiencies in the bandstand plans to Yee's department Tuesday.

Her staff cites at least four violations of the disability law involving seating.

Wheelchair spaces aren't integrated with the fixed seating or connected by an accessible route. "Actual wheelchair space is required to be firm and stable, and of course it isn't even designated," Wai said.

Also, one percent of all fixed seats must be aisle seats with no arm rests so a wheelchair can pull up and the person can transfer to a seat. They must be identified by a sign or marker and connect to an accessible route.

Yee said the seating is "an interpretational issue." Wheelchair visitors can sit on the apron fronting the bandstand with family members on folding chairs, he said.

Also, he said, the grass is being compacted so wheelchairs can roll over it to reach breaks in the regular seating and that benches without arm rests are on order.

Wai said her office is questioning a number of features in the project because there isn't enough information in the plans to figure out if something is wrong.

For example, she said, the plans call for stone paving but don't indicate if it is stable or uneven, which would make it difficult for a wheelchair.

Yee said the tile meets the criteria for a hard, firm surface.

"It was kind of a moving target at the end and we did a lot of things directly with the contractor that are not reflected on the drawing," he said. "As we identified the issues, we changed the site conditions to bring them into compliance."

Many modifications were made, resulting in nearly 20 post-contract drawings and design refinements, Yee said.

The plan shows a lift to dressing rooms and storage areas on the lower level of the bandstand, but it hasn't been installed yet.

It isn't clear from the plans whether the lift will allow unassisted entry and operation, as the law requires, Wai said.

Details also are absent on thresholds, which must be inch or lower and beveled to ease wheelchair passage, she said. Other questions concern an assistive listening system, a vision panel in doors that allow wheelchair passage, doorknobs and tactile rather than engraved signs.

Usually in the review process, architects tell her office what is missing, Wai said. "A document of this size (80 sheets of plans) will usually come in and out of the office two or three times. It's not an all-or-nothing submittal."

Generally, revisions and responses go back and forth. The goal is to whittle down discrepancies until there's nothing left, Wai said.

"Changing a vision panel and stuff is not that hard," she said. "Those aren't big issues. But if they were done before construction, it still would always be cheaper to do it right than pick it out and redo it."

City & County of Honolulu

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