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Accessibility

Published on: 5/5/2014 10:54 AM
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COUNTY PARKS’ GOAL IS INCLUSIVITY

Many of the County of Santa Clara Parks have barrier-free parking, picnic areas, restrooms, drinking fountains, trails, fishing piers, campsites, visitor centers and outdoor recreation programs.  We are continually evaluating our facilities, programs and services, and are striving toward inclusivity not just accessibility.  We want to ensure that all citizens of the County can enjoy Parks for Life!

PICNIC AND DAY USE AREAS

Most day use areas in County Parks are accessible.  We strive to place accessible picnic tables, benches and drinking fountains in strategic, scenic and high use  locations so all visitors can enjoy our most popular day use areas.  If you need assistance being directed to an accessible area, feel free to contact us at ADACoordinator@prk.sccgov.org.  We will gladly help point you to an area that is best suited for your recreational needs.

Playgrounds

The Playground at Ed Levin County Park has been renovated and is a barrier-free, wheelchair-accessible children's play area.  Improvements are underway to improve accessibility at the Vasona County Park playground.  The project is in design phase, and construction is anticipated to commence in 2015.  Our third playground at Hellyer County Park is not yet barrier free, but has been slated for improvements in future budget cycles.  Stay tuned as we continue to improve our play areas for our community’s disabled youth.

Fishing Piers and Platforms

Many shoreline fishing spots are accessible.  If you have a favorite spot that is suitable for visitors with mobility impairment, please tell us so we can share that information with others.  The fishing pier at Vasona is accessible by wheelchair, however all sections of the railing are currently at a standard design height for visitor safety.   The pier is being evaluated for possible future retrofit in order to comply with new 2010 design guidelines for fishing piers and platforms.

BOATING

Alviso Marina County Park

Alviso Marina County Park ADA AccessbileWe are proud to report that Alviso Marina County Park has been officially designated as part of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail  and has ADA compliant parking, restrooms, picnic areas, trails, and boat launch ramp with access to the beautiful salt marshes on the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay.

For more information about the features of Alviso Marina County Park, including detail of all ADA amenities, see the Alviso County Park Marina Site Plan prepared in cooperation with the Coastal Conservancy, Association of Bay Area Governments and the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, and our Alviso County Park Map.

CAMPING

Our family and group campgrounds offer ADA accessible campsites or camp areas.  There are tent or RV hook-up sites, depending on the park you would like to visit.  Designated ADA sites include special tables, drinking fountains, low grade paths of travel, and have access to accessible bathrooms and shower stalls (where showers are available).  Please visit our reservation site for more information about which sites in County Parks have been officially designated ADA campsites.

TRAILS

The Department attempts to follow Trail Accessibility Guidelines for all new paved and unpaved trail construction. 

Los Gatos Creek Trail and Coyote Creek Trail are paved, and are generally barrier free. Los Gatos Creek trail does have a steep grade near the dam face and along two sections that go under roadway overpasses.  The newly constructed Martin Murphy paved trail in Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park is fully accessible. 

Many of our unpaved trails are also barrier free.  For a listing of accessible unpaved trails for you and your family to enjoy, view/ download our current Healthy Trails Brochure.  Accessible trails are indicated with a special blue icon.

Trail Accessibility Volunteer Opportunities

Are you interested in helping us to develop Trail Accessibility Reports?  If yes,  contact our Volunteer Program.  The goal of the Trail Accessibility Volunteer effort is to enlist visitors to help provide us with short descriptions of trail length, type, uses, cumulative elevation change, typical grade and surface, and any hazards or obstructions.  Trail users can then read the online reports and judge for themselves whether a particular trail is suitable to meet their mobility needs. As we develop this program, and these reports, we will be adding the information gathered to a Trail Accessibility Reports page on our new website  which is currently under construction.

VISITOR AND INTERPRETIVE CENTERS

Most of our visitor centers are accessible.  The new Anderson visitor center is fully accessible, as is the Historic Almaden Quicksilver Museum, and Bernal Joice Gulnac Ranch.   If you have any questions about whether one of our facilities is accessible, or if you need other assistance (ie: assisted listening device or sign language interpreter) feel free to contact our ADA Coordinator ADACoordinator@prk.sccgov.org.  Please give us three days notices so we will have time to assess your request and assist you.

OUTDOOR RECREATION PROGRAMS

Check out our PlayHere guide.  The Department offers fun, healthy, outdoor recreation programs that cater to the needs of all visitors, including those with disabilities.  We have marked all activities with a special icon to help direct you to barrier-free outdoor recreation opportunities.  But, if you see something you would like to participant in, that isn’t marked, feel free to contact us.  The Department is committed to make reasonable modifications to its policies and procedures and programs to accommodate special requests.  We will evaluate your request and work with you in order to include you or your family member into our programming when feasible.

TRAP, SKEET, RIFLE AND PISTOL ENTHUSIASTS

Yes… even our shooting facility is accessible.  Despite an ominous set of stairs on the south end of the parking lot approaching the trap and skeet house, the Field Sports Park County Park trap and skeet fields can be accessed by visitors using wheel chairs from the north end of the parking lot.  Once there, the grade from the north end is level.  All of our lower Trap and Skeet fields are accessible.  If you need assistance with transporting your equipment, just call ahead and let us know.  We can’t readily fix the stairs, but we will gladly help you access the north path and get your equipment safely to your assigned field.

The rifle pistol side or our public shooting range is also accessible.  We have many shooting range firing positions that are suitable for mobility impaired visitors. 

GOLF COURSES

Both Santa Teresa Golf Course in Santa Teresa County Park and the Spring Valley Golf Course in Ed Levin County Park comply with the 2010 ADA Design Guidelines for golf courses.  Both of these golf course are operated under concession.  If you need special assistance, please contact Santa Teresa  or Spring Valley.  If for any reason, you feel your needs as a disabled person have not been met, you can contact County Parks ADA Coordinator at ADACoordinator@prk.sccgov.org who can evaluate the situation and help you secure a proper resolution.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

Public Meetings

The Department is committed to ensuring that all county residents can fully participate in the public process effecting County Park business.  We select meeting sites that are accessible, and will accommodate special requests.  If you would like to attend a meeting and need an assisted listening device or other reasonable modification, contact our ADA Coordinator at ADACoordinator@prk.sccgov.org.

The County Park Website

The County Parks Department is constantly working to improve its Web site and to make it accessible to all visitors, including those with visual, motor mobility, auditory, photo-epileptic or cognitive impairments. 

Text and images are large, or enlargeable, and the selected font style is easier to read. Attachments, such as park maps and recreation brochures, can be readily enlarged.  Links are underlined and differentiated by color to better identify routes to additional information. The colors and overall layout are less “busy” to improve readability.  Flashing strobes, lights or blinking images have been minimized or eliminated to help those with photo-epileptic seizures to safely navigate the site. Content is written in plain language and illustrated with instructional diagrams and animations where possible.  Photos and links are named meaningfully to help visually impaired readers who may be relying on screen reading software.

​The following resources are available to interested parties and to visitors with vision impairments.

  • LowBrowse a FREE Firefox Extension
    Windows, Macintosh, and Linux 
If you have a visual, motor mobility, auditory, photo-epileptic or cognitive impairment and have experienced difficulty using our website, please let us know ADACoordinator@prk.sccgov.org!  We are here to help all visitors access Park information and the facilities, services and programs we provide.

Park Maps

All Park Maps are available on line in enlargeable format to assist visually impaired visitors.   As park maps go to reprint, we are evaluating their content and making sure additional information is added about accessible features.  If you think something needs to be added to one of our maps, let us know.  We will put it in our files for future publications. In order to assist our visually impaired park visitors, enlargeable PDF park maps can be found on the bottom of each park’s individual page.

Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS)
 
Park staff have been trained to accept incoming relay service calls.  If you have a communication barrier, and need assistance making a phone call, feel free to contact us using your preferred relay service provider. For more information about Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) or for a current list of TRS providers, visit the Federal Communications Commission website.
 
You can also contact us by e-mail at ADACoordinator@prk.sccgov.org.
 
Alternate Communications

We have a limited number of assisted listening devices available at our interpretive centers and for public meetings.  We also have access to a sign language interpreter for larger groups and events.  Please contact us with at least three days' notice, if you need assistance with alternate communication.

SERVICE ANIMALS

Service animals play an important role in ensuring the independence of people with disabilities, and it is therefore our policy to welcome qualified service animals into County Parks and County Park facilities under the following conditions.

  • Service animals are defined as dogs, or miniature horses, that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.  No other type of service animal is recognized under the ADA. 
  • Personal pets, whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support to their disabled handler, do not qualify as service animals under the ADA and will not be permitted in areas of County Parks where pets are normally not permitted.

Control of Service Animal

Service animals must be harnessed, leashed or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work, or the individual’s disability prevents them from using these devices.
 
Where no physical means of control are in use, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective control measures.

Where effective control of the service animal is not maintained, park staff may ask that the service animal be removed from the area.

Service Animal Must Be House-broken

If a service animal is in a facility, and is not properly house-broken, park staff may ask that the service animal be removed from the area.

Miniature Horses May Not Be Permitted In Certain Facilities
 
While we strive to allow service animals, including miniature horses in all areas where the general public is permitted, some park facilities may not be able to safely accommodate  a miniature horse due to the horse’s type, size, and weight; or legitimate safety concern for the safe operation of the facility.  If you have questions about whether your service animal will be permitted in a particular facility or area, feel free to contact our ADA Coordinator at ADACoordinator@prk.sccgov.org.

OTHER POWER DRIVEN MOBILITY DEVICES (OPDMD)

Santa Clara County Parks Department is pleased to increase recreational opportunities for people with mobility disabilities by allowing the use of other power-driven mobility devices in areas where they can be operated safely, without posing risk of serious harm to natural and cultural resources, and in conformity with federal land management laws and regulations.

This policy applies only to OPDMD (non-wheelchair) usage. In accordance with federal law, wheelchairs and manually powered mobility aids, such as walkers, crutches, canes, braces, and other similar devices are permitted anywhere in on County Parkland where pedestrian travel is allowed.

In order to ensure that OPDMD operation does not pose significant safety risks nor fundamentally alter the nature of services, programs, and activities provided by the Department, all OPDMDs operated in regional parklands must meet the following standards.

Permitted Size

OPDMDs shall not be wider than 36” or longer than 48”, except for electric bicycles which may exceed 48” in length.

Permitted Fuel Source

In order to ensure zero emissions, only manually or battery/electricity operated devices are permitted. The use of gas powered mobility devices is prohibited.

Speed Limit

No person shall operate an OPDMD at a speed in excess of 10 miles per hour. Electric bicycles shall not be operated in excess of the posted speed limit or 15 miles per hour.

Notwithstanding the above speed limits, no person shall operate an OPDMD at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for trail sight‐lines, the traffic on, and the surface and width of a trail, nor at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

Areas of Authorized Use

OPDMDs are authorized on/in the following areas:

  • Regular Paths of Travel (e.g., sidewalks, streets, parking lots, ramps, and restrooms)
  • Fishing Piers
  • Observation Areas
  • Paved Multi‐use Trails (e.g., Los Gatos Creek Trail, Coyote Creek Trail)
  • Unpaved Multi‐use Trails (e.g., fire roads)
Although OPDMDs are generally authorized in these areas, they may be restricted in specific circumstances due to design limitations or operational characteristics of the trail/facility.

OPDMDs must stay on designated trails at all times, except when crossing a lawn or dirt area to access picnicking or camp sites.

Closed / Restricted Areas

OPDMDs are not permitted in areas that are closed or restricted to the general public due to safety concerns or for resource protection.

Restricted Trails

OPDMDs are not permitted on the following areas:

  • Narrow single track trails (except for electric bicycles which are permitted under this policy anywhere bicycles are allowed).
  • Trails where the width of the OPDMD exceeds half the trail width.

Design Restrictions

In addition, due to design characteristics, the Department may restrict OPDMDs in certain interpretive facilities, visitor centers, reservable group areas, and public buildings.   Individuals are encouraged to contact the Department prior to their site visit to determine if there are any restrictions or limitations that may apply.

Public Safety Restrictions

The Department reserves the right to further restrict the use of OPDMDs during special events or during periods of high volume pedestrian traffic in order to promote public safety.

Unlicensed motorized devices may not be used on roads where only street legal vehicles may be operated.  However, where walking on the shoulder or edge of the road is permitted, an OPDMD may also be permitted if there is sufficient room to stay out of the lane of traffic.

If you have any questions about whether your OPDMD will be permitted in a certain area, please contact our ADA Coordinator.

Only individuals with mobility impairment may use OPDMD’s in County Parks.  Department staff may request presentation of a valid, state‐issued, disability parking placard or card, or other state‐issued proof of disability as a credible assurance that the use of the OPDMD is for the individual’s mobility disability.
 
​If you would like to use an OPDMD in County Park for recreational purposes only, please contact our Special Use Coordinator at parkinfo@prk.sccgov.org to discuss your request.  Depending on the circumstances, a special use permit may be issued.

YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE ADA

The Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department works continuously to develop  accessible and inclusive facilities, programs and services  in compliance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (‘ADA”). The Department will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs or activities.   The Department will make reasonable modifications to policies and programs to ensure that people with disability have an equal opportunity to enjoy our programs, services and activities.   If you need assistance with an ADA request, please contact our ADA Coordinator at ADACoordinator@prk.sccgov.org

If you have an ADA issue that has not been satisfactorily been resolved, please see our Grievance Policy and Grievance Procedure.
 
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