Aug. 11, 2023 By Bill Parry
The Port Authority and LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the manager and developer of LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B, announced on Aug. 9 that the terminal has achieved the highest possible rating for accessibility. Terminal B earned a Gold rating from the Canada-based Rick Hansen Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness, changing attitudes and removing barriers for people with disabilities since 1988.
The recognition makes LaGuardia Terminal B the first airline terminal in the United States to receive the distinction.
“Accessibility is a critical part of the Port Authority’s mission to create world class airports, where state-of-the-art technology and thoughtful design will make travel easier and less stressful for passengers of all ability levels,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said. “Among all the accolades received by Terminal B, we are particularly proud that the new terminal is the first in the nation to be awarded Gold certification by the Rick Hansen Foundation.”
Accessibility has been a key element of the transformation of the Port Authority’s airports from outdated and undersized facilities to world-class and state-of-the-art. As part of the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport, Terminal B was designed to be accessible for guests with hearing, vision, and mobility disabilities.
“Ensuring accessibility in public spaces is a crucial aspect of our commitment. We continue to explore ways to improve the accessibility of Terminal B and ensure that everyone can navigate the terminal with ease,” LaGuardia Gateway Partners CEO Frank Scremin said. “We’re proud that our commitment to accessibility has received external recognition from the Rick Hansen Foundation.”
The terminal is equipped with hearing loops available at all guest experience desks, intuitive departure board displays in two formats along with color coding to support easy interpretation and gate distance information, accessible assistance at curbside drop-off/check-in service with call button, color-coded wayfinding across the airport, and a calming seating area with sensory stimulation features such as plants and foliage. Terminal B also offers the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard to guests with disabilities that may not be easy to observe such as autism, PTSD and hearing loss. The lanyard identifies these guests and communicates that they may need extra help while traveling through the terminal.
“We are honored to receive this recognition from the Rick Hansen Foundation, which is a leader in the effort to create and promote accessible spaces,” Port Authority Board Chairman Kevin O’Toole said. “This gold certification for Terminal B is a testament to the efforts by the Port Authority and LaGuardia Gateway Partners to provide a best-in-class experience for all of our passengers and communities.”
Rick Hansen was paralyzed in an automobile collision in his youth and became known as the “Man In Motion” for his epic 26-month, 34 country, 25,000 mile wheelchair trip around the world. He founded the Rick Hansen Foundation in 1985 to make the world inclusive for people with disabilities and to find a cure for paralysis.
“When I embarked on my Man In Motion World Tour in 1985, the vision of a truly inclusive and accessible world for people with disabilities was just a dream. Thanks to the leadership of organizations like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and LaGuardia Gateway Partners, we will get there faster,” Hansen said. “Accessible travel is a critical part of creating a world where we all can participate. Thank you for your commitment to helping to create a world where everyone can go everywhere.”