Accessability Survey Part 2

Herein is the last part of our survey recommendations, which deals with the Captains Golf Course, the Gristmill/Herring Run area, and Brewster’s three most popular ponds used by people with disabilities: Sheep Pond, Long Pond and Upper Mill Pond. 

Captains Golf Course

This facility was found to be very accessible and ADA compliant.  To be fully accessible the town might consider installing automatic door openers for the two entrance doors.  Also, the addition of an adaptive golf cart at Captains would provide some golfers with disabilities access to the game.

  Herring Run/Gristmill Site

The new “van accessible” handicap parking space with direct access to the new crosswalk as well as the new curb cut and brick sidewalk in front of the Gristmill on the opposite side of the road are well done.  

There are possibilities on both sides of the Gristmill/Herring Run area for the development of accessible pathways.    One semi-accessible pathway already exists on the south side. Here, there is a brick path that goes behind the Gristmill connecting to a dirt area that leads to a grassy overlook. There is a bench at this overlook.   This brick pathway needs repair, but is still usable.  It could be widened to 36” and extended to the overlook area. 

Another possible accessible pathway on the south side would be from the other end of the new sidewalk to the area where the ‘alewives’ sign is located.  On the far left side of the grassy, rocky ridge above where the sign is located, there appears to be an opening with no large stones.  We believe  this might be able to be developed into an accessible path, leading to the sign and possibly down to the lower landing.  It was also noted that the alewives information sign could possibly be done in Braille at some point in time.

Across the street on the north side, it seems possible to remake the existing path down to the first pool on the right side into an accessible one.  Although the slope is somewhat steep, we feel this could still work as an accessible path.  The path’s surface could be kept as is--a thin layer of crushed stone over a firm dirt base--or it could be redone using flat pavers or some other natural looking material.  Basically, the surface should be stable, firm, slip resistant, smooth (not bumpy) and have good drainage.  Where there are a couple of tree roots that protrude in the pathway, possibly some dirt could be added to smooth out the bumps. At the bottom of the slope on the right side is a very nice, reasonably level, grassy/dirt area which could possibly be made into an accessible viewing area for wheelchairs by improving the drainage and changing the surface material.  We feel this could be done and still retain the naturalness of the environment.

Note:  There is about a 2-inch drop between the edge of the new brick walkway and the top edge of this path. This should be filled in and smoothed out to prevent someone from tripping. We have already notified the DPW about this.

There is a regular portable bathroom facility set up near the Gristmill.  There seems to be no appropriate place to locate an accessible bathroom facility at this location.                                                                

Sheep Pond

Sheep Pond Beach is located off of Fisherman’s Landing.  The beach is at the bottom of a steep hill.  An accessible platform (approx 10’x 12’with a 3 ½’wide ramp) is to the far right of the beach. This platform has built-in benches on three sides and is considered accessible. There is one designated handicap parking space, not van accessible. It is a paved parking lot.  No accessible bathroom is available.

We consider this beach to be inaccessible for beach wheelchairs. There is no curb cut for the beach wheelchair to access the beach and there is too great a drop between the paved surface and the beach sand for safe use of the beach wheelchair.

People using regular wheelchairs do enjoy using the accessible platform. However, to reach the accessible platform from the handicap parking space,  one has to diagonally cross over the steeply inclined roadway.   Our conclusion is that due to its topography, Sheep Pond is one of those pond beaches which cannot easily be made into a safe, accessible beach area. Our only recommendation is to leave the one handicap parking space as is, where it is most level.

Long Pond

Long Pond is located off of Crowell’s Bog Road.  It has one unsigned (except on the pavement) handicap parking space.  There is no accessible platform or entrance way to the beach area.  This beach is presently accessible to beach wheelchairs; there is no curb cut to the beach area but the curb itself is low.  There is no accessible bathroom.

Long Pond is one pond beach which could be made fully accessible for both beach wheelchairs and regular wheelchairs.  There is a flat, semi-firm dirt surface to the right side of the beach, in between the edge of the parking lot and the trees (where the kayaks now are).  This would be a perfect place to build a low, accessible platform--it would provide a water view as well as some shade.  This platform should not need railings because it is not a raised platform, but it should have a small 2” safety edge to it.  Having a bench of some sort is also recommended.   The existing corner handicap parking space is 12 ½’ wide. We suggest either combining the existing handicap parking space with the adjacent parking space or two other parking spaces near the proposed platform area to make one  ‘van accessible’ space.   Within this area  a curb cut could be made so that  there would be direct access to the suggested accessible platform from the handicap parking space as well as a second curb cut nearby for the beach wheelchair access to the beach.  We would also recommend having an accessible portable bathroom at this beach.  For the present, we recommend that the handicap parking space be properly signed.                                                                                                                         

Upper Mill Pond

Upper Mill Pond is off of Run Hill Road just after the parking lot to Punkhorn Woods. There is one designated handicap parking space, which is van accessible.  Its surface is a firm dirt base with a thin layer of small-sized gravel. There is an accessible platform (approx 10’x 15), with a built-in bench and it has a wide ramp (almost 6’) to access the platform.  There is no accessible bathroom.

Upper Mill Pond has a very nice accessible platform for enjoying the sights and environment of the pond.  The beach is basically an access area for boats and therefore not  beach wheelchair accessible.  Our committee feels that not much more can be done to improve the accessibility of the Upper Mill Pond area.  If at some time a portable bathroom facility is set up there, we would recommend that it be an accessible one.

Other Pond Notes

Schoolhouse Pond: This pond has a small accessible viewing platform.  There is no beach area, no designated handicap parking area, no accessible portable bathroom facility.   Our only recommendation for this area is the installation of the handicap parking sign.

Walkers Pond:  Beach area is considered inaccessible-it is on a steep incline. There is no handicap parking designated, nor accessible portable bathroom facility.  There is a picnic table on the top bank which possibly could be made into an accessible area. At this time, we make no recommendations re this pond area.

Slough Pond:  This pond has a small parking area and is not considered accessible.  At this time, we make no recommendations re this pond area.

Guidelines

Pathways

            Minimum of 36” wide;  48”-60” is preferred

            Needs a  60” turnaround space

            Smooth, stable, firm, level, slip resistant, well drained surface 

            Minimal slope to walkway

            Hard packed or paved surface

            Direct easy access from handicap parking space to pathway

Platforms

            Reasonable size such as 10’x 12’, 12’x14’, large enough to accommodate a                                wheelchair and possibly a bench

            A 2”safety edge for low platforms; railings for raised platforms.

            Access ramp should be a minimum of 3’wide.

Respectfully submitted by the All Citizens Access Committee of Brewster, June 2010.