2030 Goal: Access for people of all ages and abilities

Morgen Hodgetts, Chicago Rowing Foundation

An accessible launch makes kayaking or canoeing available to all, regardless of age or ability.

Chicago’s full range of river and riverfront assets—the Riverwalk, major events, recreational opportunities and employment—as well as information about them will be readily accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

“We need platforms on the water that are ADA compliant and accessible to everyone.”

—Focus group participant

Universal accessibility must be a central design concept to every new publicly accessible riverfront site, while existing sites should be retrofitted to accommodate people with disabilities. River-focused websites, events and signage will convey explicit and easy-to-find directions for people with sensory or physical disabilities. A distributed network of sites with infrastructure to support entry and exit to and from the water, elevators and ramps to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), storage of specialized equipment and supportive programming will enable individuals, families and groups to learn and enjoy water-based recreation throughout the city. Auditory, physical and visual cues built into riverfront infrastructure and signage will create a safer and more inviting environment.

Making it happen

Conduct a multi-agency ADA assessment of existing river and riverfront amenities, as well as online information and programming, to provide a seamlessly accessible experience traversing multiple agencies’ sites and facilities in any given day.

Key players

Mayor’s Office, Chicago Park District, Forest Preserves of Cook County, Chicago Dept. of Transportation, Access Living, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Active Transportation Alliance, Chicago Dept. of Planning and Development

Our rivers, our role

  • Advocate for ADA compliance at existing river and riverfront facilities.
  • Organize riverfront events with people of all ages and abilities to determine what accessibility needs look like in your community.

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