A Long Island, N.Y., community says it may fast-track applications for single-family homes that use Universal Design elements to create barrier-free buildings.
“This goes to the very heart of how society can design environments that provide access for all people,” said Lynn Evans, of Suffolk County Accessible.
Forty percent of the population of Suffolk County are seniors, baby boomers, and people living with disabilities. That said, few architects and builders consider the needs of that population in new construction, Evans said.
The plan would encourage wider doorways and step-less entry ways, which would make life easier for everyone, including people with baby strollers. The plan also addresses the fact that all of us are “temporarily abled” — meaning sooner or later we all need barrier-free buildings whether we are young, old, permanently disabled or recovering from surgery.
Advocates of the Suffolk County plan say it follows legislation in New York City, has mandated the use of Universal Design elements in new buildings since 1987.