We have inventoried 13 different sites in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho for a commercial client, to determine compliance with the current standards for accessibility of the exterior site. The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design stipulates that any alterations of a commercial facility (including interior remodeling) must consider updating accessibility features "to the maximum extent feasible".

We followed a stream-lined approach to efficiently access each situation and provide recommendations for improvements:

  • Engineering field review & assessment
  • Topographic survey confined to specific areas of concern
  • Exhibit listing all deficiencies
  • Review by client and architect, coordination with exterior building changes
  • Construction plans and details

Many of these projects also included improvements to provide accessible connections to adjacent street sidewalks.

 
 

So... can you see any deficiencies in the photo? At first glance it looks fairly acceptable. Well, here's what you missed:

  • Only the first stall (from the front of the picture) is flat enough, the remaining stalls and aisles are steeper than the minimum criteria, especially towards the rear of the stalls where the pavement 'rolls-off'.
  • The curb (yellow) and gutter configuration should have been discontinued through the accessible stalls. It creates excessive slopes, and an unnecessary bump to get to the curb ramp. (Since the drainage pattern is away from the sidewalk, to the center of the travelled way, the curb and gutter adjacent to the sidewalk serves no purpose.)
  • The continuous curb-ramp for the stalls is less than the maximum cross-slope allowed, where there is no flat landing beyond the ramp. Wheelchairs have to turn and follow the sloped ramp to get to the entry doors.

The signage, although unique, actual does meet current standards. Typically, the accessibility signs are placed behind the sidewalk, and a 'bumper-curb' is installed to keep vehicles from parking over the sidewalk. This client is now placing these (bollard-sign combinations) at the edge of the sidewalk, and removing the bumper-curbs; since they are considered a tripping hazard.

 

The reconstruction for this site included removing the asphalt pavement, the curb and gutter, and a portion of the entry slab. The paving area has been re-graded to flatten the stalls and aisles; yet maintain the existing drainage patterns. The continuous curb-ramp has been replaced to meet maximum cross-slope requirements. The slight elevation changes required to accomplish this, are overcome by a new slab to the entry door. The finished product fully meets the ADA Standards, providing safe & efficient access to the building.