Accessible tables & benches added to Burlington parks

Accessible picnic table in Spencer Smith Park by water fountain.
Accessible picnic table in Spencer Smith Park by water fountain.

I was recently contacted by a senior who sent a picture of a wheelchair accessible picnic table and suggested Burlington add these to our parks.

I thought it was a great idea, so I contacted staff to find out what we’re doing. Turns out, a lot. Here’s where you can find accessible picnic tables, and the city’s plan for the future.

Existing accessible picnic tables are in parks that are available by permit for picnicking including Hidden Valley, LaSalle and Lowville.  Numbers of accessible tables available are as follows:

Sample accessible picnic table
Sample accessible picnic table

Hidden Valley Park

  • 1 in picnic area #4 (older style)

  • 8 around splash pad

LaSalle Park

  • 6 in picnic area #3


Lowville Park

  • 2 in picnic area #1

  • 3 in picnic area #2

  • 2 in picnic area #3

  • 5 in picnic area #4

Accessible picnic tables at Lowville Park
Accessible picnic tables at Lowville Park

The picnic tables at Lowville Park accommodate a wheelchair at the end/ side and in the middle where several tables are placed together- to provide a variety of seating options.  This design was developed in consultation with the Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee (BAAC).

Improvements to picnic areas, which would include addition of accessible tables, are planned in 2018 at Lowville and 2020 at Hidden Valley (subject to budget approval.)  The current standard, that applies when new picnic areas are developed, is to provide 20% accessible seating.

Picnic tables that are intended to be moved around to accommodate other uses in a particular park are not suited to an accessible table, which should have an accessible surface to gain access to a permanent location.

As future implementation plans are developed for Beachway Park, there is an opportunity to incorporate accessible picnic tables, where they can be accessed by a pathway.

In addition, any new benches installed in parks are accessible.  This is achieved by providing a concrete pad that includes a space for a wheelchair beside the bench.

Thanks to resident C.P. for raising this issue so we can all benefit from the information!


Written by Marianne Meed Ward

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

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