At the close of the 83rd Legislative session, Representative Susan King broke her leg and relied on a scooter to get around, witnessing first hand some of the issues facing Capitol visitors with disabilities. At Rep. King's urging, the Texas Preservation Board (TPB), which manages the Capitol grounds, started looking at Capitol accessibility. The TPB requested that CTD compile a report of some of the issues that Texans with disabilities have experienced in this area.
We asked for input from our members and partners, and found some of the more common problems to be:
- Lack of accessible parking
- Inaccessible entrances and exits for most doors
- Lack of guidance signage
- Virtually inaccessible to the visual and hearing impaired
- Lack of accessibility information on Capitol website
- Lack of accountability: no office or person is responsible for providing assistance or improvements.
In addition, we recommended that TPB include multiple disability organizations in the process of gathering information for future plans. These plans should not only address current accessibility problems at the Capitol, but should also pave the way for greater inclusion of all Texans to participate in their government, including people with disabilities.
Based on the data we collected and our recommendations:
- signage has been posted by elevators and in hearing rooms that reads "Please provide priority access for people with disabilities." (right)
- signs indicating that certain seats are reserved for people with disabilities have been posted in hearing rooms.
- way-finding signs around the exterior of Capitol have been posted, pointing the way to the accessible entrance at the north steps.
The TPB's efforts to improve Capitol accessibility are ongoing! We will post improvements here as they occur.