As an ADA Inspector for architectural barriers, the new construction BLOOPERS never cease to amaze me! Here’s a new 12′ wide accessible parking space with the required access aisle, correct location, and correct signage; yet no ACCESS ROUTE to the Hotel SIDEWALK!
By ADA law, the disabled person parking here should be able to access the hotel entry without having to cross traffic or travel behind any other parked vehicles. Rolling out into the traffic lane, around the planter, and through the portico is not the solution! The ramp down to the driveway pavement is on the other side of the palm tree planter. SAFETY is a key component to the ADA Standard.
SOLUTION: At no additional cost, the sidewalk could have been designed to ramp down from both sides to a flat landing to meet the access aisle.
A curb stop to prevent parked cars from encroaching the sidewalk prevents cars from encroaching an accessible sidewalk are not required, however, they prevent cars from pulling forward and blocking the sidewalk.
If you have any ADA BLOOPERS, please share! For any ADA Access questions, feel free to call. Susan’s cell, 407-310-3663
Safe Accessible Ramps are a MUST for Disabled Customers
A safely accessible business matters for all customers.
My friend, who has MS, Multiple Sclerosis fell on this rotten “not to code” unsafe ramp by the handicapped parking space of a popular downtown Orlando Mills-50-Vi Mi District restaurant. Garbage, empty boxes, rat traps, loose door mats and grease on the sidewalk should have been our first clue to stay in the car.
We think that the accessible parking spaces are usually used for their delivery vans and the makeshift rotten wooden ramps are for their delivery carts. This is not just an assumption. Employees were unloading produce from their van in the adjacent handicapped parking space.
This is an international business district, but it is not a 3rd world nation without ADA Accessibility codes! Why does Orlando code enforcement FAIL to enforce ADA accessibility codes at this business? Why doesn’t this restaurant owner care enough to accommodate his customers who live with physical disabilities?
Not only did my friend lose her balance and fall on the wobbly rotten wood plank ramp, but several employees passed her without offering assistance.
Accessible ramps are not just for people who use wheelchairs. They are also for people with a limited range of motion who have difficulty raising their foot up a short step.
There is an unmarked concrete ramp further down the sidewalk, however, it is blocked with a concrete curb stop and a standard parking space with a parked car. We could not get past the parked car to access the concrete ramp. You can see it in the picture. It was not a usable safe accessible ramp.
The blocked ramp might be their “loophole” from providing safely accessible ramps for their customers. This is the type of architectural barrier, combined with a negative employee customer service experience, that drives people living with physical disabilities to sue business and building owners to enforce ADA compliance.
Providing safely accessible ramps is not only the law, but it is a gracious expression of respect for other people.
At Disability Smart Solutions, we work with businesses and building owners who want to make sure that their business is ADA compliant and Disabled Consumer Friendly. We do not go out of our way to point out buildings that are non-compliant, however, this situation made my blood BOIL! I wrote this article to demonstrate the REALITY of a non-compliant business and the impact on REAL people who live with a disability.
Disabled Customers Find Great Service in the Country
Nothing beats a country store that believes in old fashioned southern hospitality to graciously meet the needs of their disabled customers.
We’ve been driving out to A.W. Peterson Gun Store and Museum for a few decades for repairs and fresh air. Hunters, outdoor men, law enforcement, veterans, cowboys, and collectors have been going to this small country business for generations. Mr. Baker opened the 118-year-old business in Mount Dora in 1953. We were told that parts of the old pecky cypress building are from the 1890s.
While the handicap ramp and sand parking lot might not meet the current code, it is sturdy and meets the needs of most disabled customers. Inside the store, the well-worn wooden floors are smooth and the aisles are all wide enough for disabled customers to easily maneuver a wheelchair or scooter. It’s been a few years since my last visit, but this time, I noticed that the aisles are now clear of any protrusions, making it comfortable for disabled customers with limited visibility.
The store is a comfortable place to shop or just to just check out all of the old hunting trophies and vintage collectibles. I always appreciate a store with plenty of places to sit. Many times disabled customers might want to sit for a few minutes and relax before continuing shopping. We often forget how many people living with a disability have limited stamina or muscle strength.
I took advantage of the porch chairs to work on “sit” training with our service dog, Bella. She was our daughters Deaf Alert dog. Since our daughter has been in boarding school for the past 3 years, Bella has become a lazy pet. We spent 20 minutes sitting on the porch without her moving to acknowledge people who walked in and out of the store. She remembered. Disabled customers with service dogs are welcome in Peterson’s. I brought in Bella, without a vest, and all I heard was “what a pretty dog.”
The best part about A.W. Peterson’s gunsmith, is that he is honest and if he can fix it while you wait, he will. My husband brought a jammed French collectible firearm to a Big Box sports store in Lake Mary. After a two week wait, he was charged $69.00 and told that they couldn’t fix the problem. The gunsmith at Petersons, spent some time examining it and discovered that there was old lint compacted in the barrel. He charged $30 and spent less than 30 minutes making the repair. Nothing beats a great customer service experience, except a great customer service experience with a trip to the country.
A few days ago I used the accessible restroom at a private club. I was sitting on the potty wondering if a 6′-6″ man had mounted the accessible restroom coat hook.
Had I been a wheelchair user, a person of short stature, a child, or someone with a limited range of motion, my Breast Cancer Month purse would have been on the floor!!
Sometimes business owners forget that accessible stalls are for anyone with any disability! Invisible hidden disabilities like shoulder injuries, elbow injuries, arthritis, MS, tendinitis, gout and nerve damage may limit a person’s ability to reach a hook that is mounted out of range.
As a designer, I know that coat hook detail dimensions are always part of commercial construction documents. In the 1980’s, I worked as a designer in the Walt Disney World Architecture and Design Department. Even before the ADA Code was law, their standard practice was to always mount restroom door coat hooks midway down the toilet stall door, in order to deter pickpockets from reaching over the door to snatch a purse.
Over the years, I have spent many days on construction sites. I know that typically an installer is handed a box of coat hooks and told to mount them. He rarely takes the time to read the plans. Armed with a screw gun, he goes toilet stall door to toilet stall door just mounting the hooks at a height that works for him. During “punch list” time, if the punch-out person isn’t familiar with the ADA code, they are just checking off boxes that there is a coat hook! Even if a business was built to the 2010 ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Code, it’s still a good idea to double check the details.
Accessible toilet coat hooks mounted too high are the type of little 2010 ADA Code violations that can really frustrate a person with a disability and inspire ADA Code litigation. It might seem like a tiny detail, but if you are a person living with a disability, who needs to remove clothing or hang items while using the toilet, it becomes a BIG deal!
Let’s all do our own small part TODAY to make the world a little more accessible. Grab a screw-driver and check the coat hooks in your business restrooms. If they are too high, please move them down. A maximum height of 48″ above the floor meets the 2010 ADA Code for accessible restroom coat hooks. Together we can show consideration to our All-Ability guests and employees.
Do you like my purse? October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.