Bienenstock on Accessible PlaygroundsBienenstock designs Natural Playgrounds for all abilities. This means that anyone regardless of physical or mental ability can play and enjoy the space. We follow the ADA Accessibility Act as our minimum requirements. All components are designed to be fully accessible by not eliminating the challenge and nature of the activity.
Bienenstock is of the philosophy that all playgrounds should be fully accessible to every child’s ability level. When we design natural playgrounds we design for wheelchair and walker accessibility. If there is a specific ability level that the playground must accommodate we have ths staff in Early Childhood Education and Kinesiology that can determine the appropriate components for the design. We also work closely with representatives of the McMaster Child Health Research Institute in Hamilton that we consult with when child ability levels are a primary concern.
All pathways are designed for wheelchair or walker accessibility.
“The ASTM 1951 standard determines the accessibility of a surface by measuring the work required to propel a wheelchair across the surface. The standard includes tests of effort for both straight ahead and turning movement, using a force wheel on a rehabilitation wheelchair as the measuring device.” (ADA Accessibility Act)
Bienenstock recommends two types of surfacing in his natural playgrounds: rubber surface or tamped screening. The rubber surface acts as an accessible, safe, impact resistant surface. Tamped screenings is not considered an impact resistant surface, however it is a fully accessible surface. These are our preferred choices for natural playground pathways. There may be other surfaces that also meet these specifications and will be evaluated at the customers request.
Where a combination of surfaces is used if there is greater than a ½ inch change in surface level a sloped surface will be installed with a maximum slope of 1:12.
The ideal minimum width for wheelchair accessibility is 60” (1525mm). This width will allow two wheelchairs to pass each other at the same time. The minimum width for a single wheelchair is 32” (815mm) at a single point and 36” (915mm) continuously. We like to use 48” as our minimum allowable width at any one point to make the paths more accessible. Wheelchair turning space must be a minimum of 60`` by 60`` to allow for safe maneuvering, however larger is better.
Ground level slopes are required to be at a maximum of 1:16, lesser slopes will be used depending on playground size to enhance access for children who can’t negotiate the 1:16 slope. Ramps that connect to elevated play components such as our hill slide have a maximum rise of 1:12. When possible we will design ramps less the 1:12 maximum.
Where a sand surface is provided, an accessible path will connect to the border of the sand box. If circumstances permit a transfer system will be installed to aid the transfer from a wheelchair to the sand box. Raised sand boxes may also be installed which will comply with 188.8.131.52 of the ADA Accessibility Act.
Other Ground Level Components (musical instruments etc...)
Where a ground level component is provided, an accessible path will connect to the border of the component. If circumstances permit a transfer system will be installed to aid the transfer from a wheelchair to ground level. Raised components may also be installed which will comply with 184.108.40.206 of the ADA Accessibility Act.
Children's Reach Ranges
Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds uses the ADA’s reach ranges as appropriate distances for children in wheelchairs to use play components such as drums or amadindas. These components require children to reach out in order to play with these components. Depending on the circumstances of the playground, multiple components may accommodate different reach ranges to allow for accessibility for a wide range of age groups.