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
On Street Parallel Parking is NOT Recognized by the ADA Standards
Does anyone with a reasonable conscience believe that a person with a mobility disability should have to stand in traffic to enter and exit their car?
20% of the American population lives with a disability. In my opinion, a lack of accessible parking in redeveloping downtown districts, perpetuates keeping people with disabilities “out of sight, out of mind” or NIMN, “Not in My Neighborhood.”
Fortunately, this lady in Asheville, NC had a friend to look out for oncoming traffic. The “Reserved Accessible Parking” space was the same width as all of the other parallel parking spaces. There was NO access aisle between the van and the sidewalk. Having safe distributed accessible parking is crucial in redeveloping walkable cities.
The ADA Code requires all “Handicapped Parking Spaces” to have an access space next to a car or van for a lift for mobility devices.
In Florida, all Accessible Parking Spaces must be 12 feet wide plus a 5-foot access aisle for a total of 17 feet.
Nationally, ADA requires 8 feet for an accessible car plus an 8-foot access aisle or 11 feet for an accessible van plus 5 feet for an access aisle. All of the Accessible parking spaces require a total of 16 feet in width.
A situation came to my attention today in the City Beautiful. A City that promotes itself as inclusive. A paraplegic, who uses a van with a full lift, purchased an in-fill condominium in a Historic District. The condominium building, a re-purposed award-winning historical retrofit, has individual car parking garages for each unit.
Accessible vans are often taller than a standard garage door. In commercial buildings with parking garages, clearances are mandatory for accessible van parking. In a smaller unit residential building, standard car height individual garages are allowed.
The developer asked the city to allow them to build a van accessible parking space, with an accessible path, to this individuals condo unit door on their own property. The City Historical Board denied allowing the paraplegic woman building a parking space on her property.
The City Historical Boards solution was that they would add a PUBLIC “accessible parking” sign to one of their existing parallel parking spaces on the existing narrow public street.
Parallel on-street parking is NOT accessible, without the added side access aisle. Since the accessible parking space requested was for a van, it would have required 17′ in clear width, which certainly wasn’t available on the street.
This City board saw their “Historical Code” as a priority over Equal Access .
The Department of Justice has worked tirelessly to create the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, to assure architectural access for all. It is possible to design historically relevant accessible features and I am available to show any agency how.
Please send your colleagues and Historical Boards in my direction, for Disability Smart Solutions to assist them in employee training and accessible urban solutions. 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.
Help! I can’t see myself! ADA accessible Mirror FAIL!
A few nights ago, I was sitting on the potty in the accessible restroom at a classy private club. I looked over at the ADA accessible mirror and realized that the bottom of the glass was at least 52″ above the floor. The required accessible mirror was more than a foot higher than the ADA 2010 Code rule. I took the photo of the ADA accessible mirror while sitting down. At 66″ tall when standing, I still needed to stretch a bit to check my lipstick.
I am not writing this to “out’ any business. I just want to make the point of how small, often overlooked things can impact the life of a person living with a disability.
Just because your architect designed your building to meet the 2010 ADA codes, does not mean that it was built and furnished to code!
Private Clubs that allow non-members to attend functions, are not exempt from the Americans With Disabilities Act rules for Places of Accommodation. Accessible restrooms must meet the ADA code requirements for dimensions, including each ADA accessible mirror at each accessible sink. Please see the diagram below for ADA restroom fixture code dimensions.
Even thought the club recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, having a small decorative mirror was someone’s priority over providing a code compliant accessible mirror. An ADA accessible mirror does not need to be ugly. It just needs to be low enough for a person sitting in a wheelchair or a person of short stature to see their own reflection.
Why doesn’t at this business realize that situations like this provide a basis for someone with a disability to sue the business and the building owner for ADA compliance?
This is the Top 10 List of the most common ADA violations we find.
Even if at first glance they appear simple, depending on the age and size of a property, ADA accessibility violations can add up from a few dozen to a few thousand violations. By documenting all of the access violations, prioritizing which ones to repair first and providing compliance details in one report, Disability Smart Solutions provides an organized compliance action plan for business and building owners to use to bring their properties into compliance.
Many of these ADA non-compliance items are low-cost changes that can be modified by on-site staff.
The Top 10 ADA Access Violations
1. Signs: Outdated, missing, incorrect, wrong height, hard to find or mounted wrong
2. Parking: The pavement or ramp slope is too steep or the wrong dimensions. Parking spaces have no access aisle to get in and out of the car. Parking spaces are the wrong size.
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.