Everyone is welcome to sit at picnic tables at a community park or outside a facility. But what if you are disabled? Should you be excluded or made to feel like you are not part of the group? Absolutely not. That’s where ADA picnic tables come in.
But without accessible equipment, facility managers can inadvertently exclude guests with disabilities.
That’s why facility managers need to be ADA compliant and think of all guests, including those whose needs are different from your own.
What are ADA picnic tables?
The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted by Congress to protect against discrimination based on disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. Additionally, and maybe most relevant to facility managers, ADA imposed accessibility requirements on public accommodations and commercial facilities. For one, that means offering park picnic tables and commercial picnic tables that ALL people can use.
New construction of hotels, recreational facilities, education, transportation, stores, hospitals, swimming pools, and many other facilities had to be compliant with regulations set out in ADA. Many existing buildings were also brought up to code and removed barriers that would block disabled guests from entering and experiencing the facilities. There are plenty of cases where the Department of Justice initiated action against entities to comply with ADA picnic table requirements.
Imagine that your son just turned eight. He is so excited to host a birthday party at his favorite park.
He wants to invite one of his best friends who is in a wheelchair. But all of the playground equipment and water fountains are not designed for wheelchair accessibility. Even the park tables are not ADA picnic tables, so the friend would have to awkwardly hold a plate of birthday cake on his lap.
Your child is torn—should he make his friend feel uncomfortable at the party, or not invite him altogether?
About 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices like wheelchairs, crutches, canes, and walkers. Whether it’s older family members or friends with limited mobility, we all know individuals who love being included and just need a little extra accommodating.
If your facility needs updating to meet accessibility requirements, ADA picnic tables are a great place to start. All of these picnic tables are the correct height to accommodate wheelchairs. Some come with three seats, allowing guests to simply wheel into the fourth spot on the picnic table and feel included with their loved ones. Other ADA picnic tables have extra long ends. This creates dining areas for wheelchair guests to park and eat.
Other ADA Equipment
ADA was expanded in 2012 with additional standards for playground equipment. This specified the number of ground-level play equipment—for example, for 5-7 elevated play components, a minimum of 2 ground level components are required on an accessible route.
It also specified mandatory widths and heights around the park. Since 60” wide is the clearing for a wheelchair, this is the minimum width for accessible routes to play areas.
Besides ADA picnic tables and park equipment, you may want to consider ADA-compliant park grills and drinking water fountains and other ADA accessible equipment. The more ADA compliant your facility is, the more guests will gather and enjoy your park or facility no matter their physical limitations.
For picnic tables of all types and sizes, including ADA-compliant tables head to The Park Catalog.
Note: We now offer several ADA Picnic Tables that can be shipped quickly with our ParkExpress in-stock program.