ADA Standards: Ramps and Truncated Domes
In response to the federal law, specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the law states that all public entities must comply with ADA on new facilities or on any streets being altered (i.e. street improvements, resurfacing, etc.). Many of the existing ramps do not meet ADA; as a result, all public entities (not just Mesa) are required to remove, replace or upgrade all non-compliant facilities when a road is improved or altered. Existing ramps are not replaced or upgraded unless there is a pavement overlay or reconstruction project scheduled for the area.
The federal government does not base the need for the ramps on the current number of handicapped residents living in the neighborhood. In time, all neighborhoods will contain these ramps, as well as neighboring cities.
The newly installed curb ramps will include appropriate “sloping” and detectable warnings.
Sloping - Each handicap ramp must have a 12:1 slope, 2% cross-slope and a landing. Translation – the ramp must have 1” of rise (or slope) for every 12” of length. The slope regulation has been implemented to make it easier for a wheelchair user to navigate the ramp. The revised ramps also have a curb behind the sidewalk to prevent the existing landscaping from encroaching into the ramp. A driveway is not seen as an acceptable ramp, due to its slopes.
Detectable Warnings – Detectable warnings are designed to allow the visually impaired to be aware of entering a potentially hazardous vehicular area. There was debate in the industry about how to meet the detectable warning requirement without impacting other persons with disabilities such as those in wheelchairs. The final agreed upon solution was “truncated domes” laid out in a defined pattern. The defined pattern allows wheelchairs to travel between the raised grooves of the dome while still helping the visually impaired.
For more information on ADA ramps or the Federal guidelines please visit http://www.access-board.gov/ada/.