An Accessible, Sustainable Playground

The site plan for the playground. Courtesy of BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers

In order to protect the tree root systems, BBS left areas of up to 15 feet in diameter around the trunks undisturbed and provided natural irrigation by directing rainwater runoff toward the trees and landscaped areas.

The designers also utilized porous materials as the base for safety surfacing, which allows rainwater to infiltrate into the ground and around the roots.

The programming for the park follows LATCP Foundation’s guidelines, based on the organization’s experience in integrating disabled children into play areas.

The park
 exceeds ADA accessibility requirements for play areas and all equipment meets or exceeds safety and accessibility standards set by ASTM, CPSC and ADA.

The playground is divided into two areas, intended for children ages 0 to 5 and 5 to 12.  BBS designed wide pathways and spaced the equipment sufficiently to allow easy wheelchair travel around the park.

The playground incorporates a high number of seating benches, which allows parents and guardians to closely observe children playing in all sections of the playground.

The park features four picnic areas, and in the future will incorporate a nature exploration section, also designed by BBS.

Some of the swing seats are equipped with amusement park ride-like harnesses for children with balancing problems.  The slides are gently sloped for increased safety and ease of use.

The climbing structures feature wheelchair ramps.  The seesaws also are adapted for children who lack balance, with one of the seats equipped with a back.

The surface materials include multi-colored, poured-in-place recycled rubber; artificial grass; pavers; natural grass; as well as a decorative pavers showcasing names of donors.

The surfaces feature cheerful colors and patterns, color-indicated pathways, and games custom designed by BBS.  The variety of surface textures and materials increases the children’s sensory experiences.

“The project incorporates numerous sustainable features,” explained BBS’ Josef Kapsa, LEED AP.  “The surface materials and play equipment feature a high recycled content and pathways include pervious pavers dissipating the storm water into the ground.

The entrance to the new playground, surrounded by the park’s mature trees. Photo by Peter Wilk/Wilk Marketing Communications

“The water runoff control system features under-drain piping and gravel that slowly discharge the rainwater into the ground without utilizing the municipal storm sewers, except for situations with extremely high amounts of water from heavy storms.”

The entrance pathway leads to the centrally located, polygonal “Welcome Center” shelter, custom designed by BBS.

The park’s most prominent feature is the 51-foot-long play bridge manufactured by Dynamo Playgrounds based on the Trail Bridge DX-701-C product.  It features a foundation comprised of 11 concrete footings; 3’11”-wide walking surface constructed of recycled plastic composite planks; 20mm and 22mm diameter polyamide (nylon) rope cable with UV protection and fire retardant solution; and 5 1/2″ OD galvanized steel tubing finished with polyester powder coating.

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