State to Seek ADA Waiver for Amtrak Platform Redesign


Milwaukee Governor Scott Walker’s administration has stated that they will be seeking a formal exception from the ADA’s level boarding requirement in order to proceed with an inaccessible renovation of the city’s passenger train concourse. The plans for the station’s redesign did not take into consideration the Federal Railroad Administration’s new accessibility guidelines which took effect February 1, 2012.

Under these new regulations, all new or rebuilt train platforms must be level with train doors to allow for the level boarding of passengers. The station’s current platforms are much lower than the train doors, forcing most passengers to use a small stool to step onto the train and requiring the use of lifts for some passengers with disabilities. The plans for the renovated station do not fix this accessibility issue.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.