The Accessible Capitol Visitor CenterPosted on October 09
By: Sharon Gang
Although my disability from knee surgery is temporary, it has given me the opportunity to see Capitol Hill from a different perspective. Never have I appreciated the Capitol's consistently functioning escalators and elevators more than over the past month. From the elevators that take me from the Capitol Plaza to the Visitor Center's main entrance to the escalators that transport me to my office on the lower level, my journey has been trouble- and stair-free.
My colleagues and I at the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) have made accessibility a priority with respect to all visitors with special needs. The tour of the Capitol is accessible, with elevators located close to the tour route. Brochures are available in alternative formats including large print, Braille, and HTML. Additionally, all restrooms at the Visitor Center are accessible, and family restrooms are available at all restroom locations. A public TTY is located near the North Gift Shop.
Visitors may request wheelchairs at the North Coat Check, located just to the right of the main entrance to the CVC. Shuttle service running from the southwest corner of Capitol Square to the CVC elevators on the plaza level, is available for people with mobility issues or who are using manual wheelchairs. Service animals are allowed in the CVC and in the Capitol.
Listening devices with an audio description of the CVC orientation film and Exhibition Hall are available, and all films at the CVC have open captioning. Sign-language interpreting for tours is available when booked in advance.
In the near future, the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services will release an audio tour of Exhibition Hall for people who are blind or have low vision.
My disability is temporary. But it's good to know that people with more permanent disabilities who are working at or visiting the Capitol are well taken care of.