Congratulations to RCA’s Reston Accessibility Committee, which was honored on April 30th with the Building Safety Month Community Partnership Award from the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES).  RAC was honored for its work to ensure that Reston’s public buildings and facilities are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.

RAC Chairman Ken Fredgren (center) holds the Community Partnership Award.
Photo Credit: Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
Ken Fredgren had some thoughtful remarks on accepting the award.  They are reproduced below.

Good morning, chairman Bulova, Supervisors and Director
I’m Ken Fredgren, chairman of Reston Accessibility Committee,
commonly called “RAC.”  Committee
members John Lovaas, Marion Stillson, and Carol Bradley are with us today.

For RAC’s
service to be recognized with the Community Partnership Award is both humbling
and gratifying, and the members of the committee and of the Reston Citizens
Association Board, are most grateful.

For our
advocacy for people with disabilities to be affirmed by in this way is
gratifying especially because of the use of the words “safety,”
(Building Safety Month), and
“community” and “partnership,” the messages of the

For years
RAC has been saying in many venues that accessibility improvements are needed
as safety measures, and our mission statement begins with the action verb
“partnering” and includes the ideal, “community.”  It reads:

“Partnering throughout the greater Reston
community to improve access for persons with mobility impairments.” 

So far, RAC
has partnered successfully with the owners and property managers of one community center (in cooperation
with Supervisor Hudgins’ staff), one
hospital, three office parks, and six shopping centers to achieve ADA-compliant
exterior access routes.  Those improved
accessible routes include accessible parking spaces, van accessible parking
spaces, accessible parking signs, access aisles, detectable warnings, traffic
crossings, and entrance doors. 

Serving on the
state-wide work group mandated by Ken Plum’s bill has been a challenging
advocacy experience.  After many trips to
meetings in Richmond,
the end is not yet in sight, but hopefully by the end of this year results will
be on the plus side. 

two personal notes.  First, when
this advocacy began five years ago, I knew a lot about physical disability and
nothing about disability rights.  For
much of what I have learned, I thank Matt Barkley of Disability Services
Planning and Development and Audrey Clark of Land Development Services for fast
and faultless information, and Marion Stillson, former president of RCA, for
giving me the challenge to learn and to serve in Reston. 

Thanks also
to Ken Plum for the opportunity to serve on the state level; Supervisor Hudgins
and Goldie Harrison and Casey Hanes of her staff for support at critical
moments; Colin Mills, president of RCA, for his consistent affirmation; and Reston
Association, Reston Community Center and Reston Interfaith for selfless,
unfailing support. 

Second, I
have a wish.  I wish that Fairfax County could create a proactive process to address sites
where accessibility is lacking.  So far,
it is up to a tiny band of volunteers serving in a very small area containing approximately
5% of the county’s population.  (The
corollary to that is that the area including 95% of the county’s population is
not being reached.)  The county has the authority to require and
enforce the provision of compliant accessible parking signs.  A sign
from a county official could lead to correcting noncompliant
accessible parking spaces as well.

We in RAC thank all of you for this honor and for this time
with you.

Congratulations to Ken and RAC for a well-deserved honor!