How 'Mobi-mats' improve beach accessibility for all

For many, the beach proves to be an inaccessible place. Hot sand makes for an unforgiving landscape — particularly for those using wheelchairs, walkers or strollers.

Brigantine, New Jersey, is the latest on a growing list of cities working to improve the accessibility of such public spaces. In early July, the city installed a 350-foot long, 5-foot-wide mat at the 16th Street beach entrance that stretches from the sidewalk to the ocean.

The idea was born when Bernadette Scarduzio first approached city officials about the need for improved beach access.

Scarduzio loves the beach, but her diagnosis of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder (CMT) as a child made trips less and less likely as the disease progressed.

CMT, a common neurological disorder, is a hereditary disease that causes nerves and muscles to slowly deteriorate. Like others diagnosed with disease, Scarduzio uses a wheelchair and found herself frequenting the beach less as a result.

Now, two years after Scarduzio brought the idea to Brigantine's city council, the island's installation of the ADA-ABA compliant mat is being praised as an all-around success.

The Mobi-mat, designed by Deschamps Mat Systems of Cedar Grove, is a nonslip walkway that makes a variety of public spaces — including beaches — more accessible for people with disabilities, as well as elderly visitors, parents with strollers and those with walkers.


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Scarduzio joined Good Day on Tuesday to share how Mobi-mats improve beach accessibility for all visitors, including those with disabilities.

Constructed out of 100% recycled polyester, the mat doesn't sink in the sand, making it the perfect pathway to the water for pedestrians of all stripes. The lightweight roll-up walkway is also resistant to UV and extreme temperatures.

Scarduzio shared the story of one woman who took her elderly mother to the beach for the first time in 20 years thanks to the newly installed mats.

"I want people to feel included because I know what it's like to not feel included," Scarduzio said.

The fight for inclusion doesn't stop with Brigantine, though. Scarduzio says others are approaching her for advice on how to implement similar measures in their own cities.

To learn more about Mobi-mat, see here.


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