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News & Updates

BPDA approves new development checklist that prioritizes accessibility and inclusion

Nov 15, 2019

Continuing efforts to better incorporate inclusive design and improve overall accessibility for development,  the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board approved updates to the Article 80 Accessibility Checklist. Developed with the City of Boston’s Disabilities Commission, this document provides a framework of best practices in accessibility for developers undergoing the Article 80 process. According to the 2010 Census, over 77,600 residents self-identify as disabled, in addition to an estimated 1.5 million disabled tourists that Boston welcomes.

“This update is the result of a strong collaboration between the BPDA and the Disabilities Commission that will create new, inclusive development that goes above and beyond the minimum accessibility requirements,” said Boston Planning & Development Agency Director Brian Golden. “We are committed to making not only new housing and commercial space, but the benefits that come with it such as public realm investments and open space, accessible to all.”

“In Boston, we know a collaborative approach is the most effective way to ensure our City is accessible to everyone. From development to open space to transit, the Article 80 Accessibility Checklist is one example of how City agencies work together to ensure accessibility is always a central part of the conversation,” said Disability Commissioner Kristen McCosh. 

First adopted by the BPDA Board in 2014 and last updated in March 2017, the Article 80 Accessibility Checklist asks developers to ensure that accessibility is planned at the beginning of projects, rather than after a design is completed. The Checklist requests preliminary project details that are intended to ensure all individuals have an equal experience that includes the fullest participation in the built environment throughout the proposed buildings and open space. All projects undergoing Small Project and Large Project Review, including all Institutional Master Plan modifications and updates, are required to fill out the Checklist before a development project can move forward. The additional updates approved include:  

  • Additional questions to provide clarity about potential accessibility changes, including entrances and vertical connections
  • Additional questions about community benefits that prioritize improvements in the accessibility of transit infrastructure, the public realm and age-friendly features
  • Additional suggestions and resources regarding Pilot LEED Credits in Social Innovation, project additions that benefit people with disabilities 
  • Simplification and minor reorganization of checklist for better clarity

The Article 80 Accessibility Checklist builds on the BPDA and City of Boston’s commitment under Mayor Martin J. Walsh to promote accessibility. In 2017, the BPDA began requiring that 15 percent of on-site Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) units must be accessible in residential developments where accessibility requirements apply. In July 2017, the BPDA along with the Disability Housing Task Force (DHTF) were recognized for the Agency’s work in improving accessibility in Boston and honored with a Mayoral proclamation that July 25th was BPDA and DHTF Accessibility Day. 

The updated Article 80 Accessibility Checklist can be found on the BPDA’s website, and goes into effect immediately.

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