The ideal city park provides all residents with a place to engage in recreational activities. It serves as a meeting place, a ball field, and a community center. It’s where friendships are maintained and relationships are formed. It’s the place where hard working citizens can loosen their ties, let down their hair, and relax.
In order for your city’s park to live up to this lofty ideal, you need it to be accessible for all the members of your community. Those with cars and those without, those with dogs and those who are afraid of animals, those with disabilities and those with delicate skin, all should find the park accessible and enjoyable.
Attaining this level of accessibility isn’t always easy. Accommodating everyone requires funding, hard work, and a fair bit of compromise. Citizens will have to come together to create a park that works for everyone. Once this hard work is done, the payoff comes in the form of a beautiful, inclusive park and a tight-knot community.
Accessibility and inclusivity are more than empty buzzwords. You can only make them happen by taking serious, forward-thinking actions. Here are six policy changes that will make your city’s park more accessible.
Create A Parking Lot
Drivers who live outside the city center will have a hard time using the park if there’s nowhere to leave their cars. You can solve this problem by building a small lot or garage somewhere near the park’s perimeters. If there’s no space for such a solution, you could look for street parking nearby and designate it as free for park-goers. The United States has become a car-centric society, so you should have drivers in mind when making policies for your park.
Make Sure There’s Public Transportation To The Park
While it’s crucial to consider people with cars, it’s just as important to keep non-drivers in mind. Many of your city’s residents either don’t have cars or prefer not to use them. These people need a way to get to the park that doesn’t involve walking. That’s why you should make sure public transportation provides access to the park. If your city has a metro, consider building a future station nearby. Buses, which are more common, provide a cheaper and easier way to create access.
Add Wheelchair Ramps
If your park includes steps or stairs, then you need to add wheelchair ramps alongside them. Otherwise, you’re effectively prohibiting wheelchair users from entering the park. Ramps are also preferable for many eldery or physically disabled individuals. Once ramps and railings are in place, people with limited mobility will have a much easier time enjoying the space.
Outdoor Furniture Use
While joggers and walkers might stay on their feet throughout their visit to the park, folks with less strength and vigor will prefer to take a seat so outdoor furniture is important. In order for the park to really be accessible, you need to include plenty of benches and chairs for people who need a rest.
Provide Plenty Of Shade
On hot summer days, the sun can be unbearable and even dangerous. Anyone with delicate skin or a fear of heat stroke won’t be able to use the park in the summer if there isn’t plenty of shade available. Trees, umbrellas, and overhangs will provide plenty of protection from the sun, making the park safer and more enjoyable for all.
Institute A Leash Policy For Dogs
While a city park is a great place to walk a dog, it’s important to remember that not everyone appreciates unwanted canine attention. A simple leash mandate will allow dog lovers to use the space without infringing on those who would prefer to keep their distance.