• ARLINGTON, Va. �" Duane Robinson, a project manager,  measures the slope of a walkway at Arlington National Cemetery while Alice Pool, a landscape architect takes notes, March 27. The two Norfolk District employees are a part of a district team assisting the cemetery with a study that will determine where it can improve the visitor experience for guests who are disabled.  (U.S. Army photo/Patrick Bloodgood)

    Measuring Slope

    ARLINGTON, Va. �" Duane Robinson, a project manager, measures the slope of a walkway at Arlington National Cemetery while Alice Pool, a landscape architect takes notes, March 27. The two Norfolk District employees are a part of a district...

  • Duane Robinson, a Norfolk District project manager, measures the slope of a walkway at Arlington National Cemetery while Gary Szymanksi, a disabled civil engineer, watches on March 27. The two Norfolk District employees are a part of a district team assisting the cemetery with a study that will determine where it can improve the visitor experience for guests who are disabled. (U.S. Army photo/Patrick Bloodgood)

    Walkway Slope

    Duane Robinson, a Norfolk District project manager, measures the slope of a walkway at Arlington National Cemetery while Gary Szymanksi, a disabled civil engineer, watches on March 27. The two Norfolk District employees are a part of a district team...

  • Alice Pool, a landscape architect, assists Duane Robinson, a project manager, measure the slope of a walkway at Arlington National Cemetery on March 27. The two Norfolk District employees are a part of a district team assisting the cemetery with a study that will determine where it can improve the visitor experience for guests who are disabled. (U.S. Army photo/Patrick Bloodgood)

    Detailed Measurement

    Alice Pool, a landscape architect, assists Duane Robinson, a project manager, measure the slope of a walkway at Arlington National Cemetery on March 27. The two Norfolk District employees are a part of a district team assisting the cemetery with a...

  • Duane Robinson, a project manager, measures the slope of a walkway at Arlington National Cemetery while Alice Pool, a landscape architect, takes notes March 27. The two Norfolk District employees are a part of a district team assisting the cemetery with a study that will determine where it can improve the visitor experience for guests who are disabled. (U.S. Army photo/Patrick Bloodgood)

    Checking the slope

    Duane Robinson, a project manager, measures the slope of a walkway at Arlington National Cemetery while Alice Pool, a landscape architect, takes notes March 27. The two Norfolk District employees are a part of a district team assisting the cemetery...

ARLINGTON, Va. -- A team from the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is traveling around and taking notes at Arlington National Cemetery to assess how accessible sections of the 150-year-old facility are for disabled visitors.

The cemetery asked the district to study areas that are heavily visited to determine if they meet current Americans With Disabilities Act standards.

"We'll take a look at each site and literally travel the path designed for those in wheelchairs or those with some other impairment and see how they function," said Duane Robinson, Norfolk District project manager.

With detailed measurements and knowledge of current codes and standards the team will issue a report with recommendations on how the nation's cemetery can ensure their main attractions allow adequate access to the disabled community, something team member Alice Pool, a Norfolk District landscape architect, believes is a fundamental right.

"Access is really key to what all these people at Arlington Cemetery have sacrificed for, which is freedom," Pool said.

Cemetery officials realize paths cannot be built to each individual gravesite; however they do want to make sure they reduce possible barriers in common travel areas.

"We need to look out and make it as smooth as we can for people in wheelchairs or pushing baby carriages or [those who] have other accessibility needs and challenges." Kent Carson, Arlington National Cemetery -- acting chief of engineers.

For Gary Syzmanski, a Norfolk District civil engineer who is disabled, being a part of this study is a way for him to make a positive impact on a community of people with disabilities who, before 1990, were not considered when builders designed a facility.

"Through my efforts in using a (wheel)chair up here and going through everything, I think it is going to help make the improvements that are practical and that give people that same experience," Syzmanski said.

The team expects to have a report back to the cemetery by mid-summer. The cemetery will then request funding to address the identified areas of concern.

"I think we are going to make some really great improvements -- that's going to bring accessibility to a higher level to Arlington cemetery," Szymansk said.

Page last updated Fri April 11th, 2014 at 00:00