A new look for an old icon

A new look for an old icon

The Accessible Icon Project, first adopted in New Bern, has made its way to Kinston. On Friday, the North Carolina Rehabilitation Association Chapter IV painted six handicap parking spaces at Neuse Enterprises, Inc. to become the first business in the Kinston area with the new wheelchair icon.

The Accessible Icon Project is helping people see the old symbol in a different way. The project is an ongoing work of design activism — it starts with a graphic icon, free for use in the public domain, and continues its work as collaboration among people with disabilities and their allies toward a more accessible world.

“Instead of a stationary handicap spot, we have one in motion to show that people are in motion and shows accessibility for disabilities,” Kyla Kremhelmer, Counselor-In-Charge, and Chair of the chapter for North Carolina Rehabilitation Association, said.

Darcy Hildreth and her son Brendon Hildreth, co-Director of Accessible Icon Project of North Carolina, were on site in Kinston to assist with the repainting of the handicap parking spots.

“We will go out to any business and help them,” Hildreth said. “If they can’t afford the paint, we’ve brought it.”

She said they are happy to go around to different businesses to educate and show them why the change in image is positive and beneficial.

The N.C. Rehabilitation Association team were engaged and excited as they took part in painting the new wheelchair images. The head position is forward to indicate the forward motion of the person through space. The arm is pointing backward to suggest the dynamic mobility of a chair user, regardless of whether they used their arms or not.

By including white angled knockouts, the symbol presents the wheel as being in motion. The leg has been moved forward to allow for more space between it and the wheel which allows for better readability and cleaner application of icon as a stencil.

The new icon is ADA compliant. Federal and state officials have determined that slight variations on historical International Symbol of Accessibility are generally permissible as long as the symbol clearly displays a wheelchair and signifies accessibility.

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