‘Site Elements’ Category
Janis Kent, Architect, FAIA, CASp © September, 2020 With the continuation of our on-going plague, many restaurants are taking their seating area out to the public sidewalks, parking areas, and even onto the streets. While the concept of pop-up restaurants has been around for a while, it has evolved as a temporary outdoor add-on to existing […]
Parking for multi-family housing can be one of the more perplexing items for scoping. The easy part is, if you have one space per unit, then you need one accessible parking space per mobility feature dwelling unit which should be located as close as feasible to each of the mobility units. But how to determine the requirements in other situations is not laid out as clearly.
The technical requirements for parking are straight-forward, yet according to annual statistics provided by the California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA), items related to parking make up 5 of the top 10 accessibility related lawsuits in the state.
Recently, it has come to my attention that there is some confusion on passenger loading zones and what are the requirements. It is also difficult to determine if the requirements are misunderstood based on drawing review, since on-grade markings are shown. It is just that they are incorrectly placed in the pull-up space.
One of the items that did not seem entirely clear to me was reflective or reflectorized signs for parking, and how do you recognize them, vs glossy or matt signs. At one point I looked for small dots in the signs but many of them seem to be faded with no added benefit that I could discern. And recently I have been seeing the signs with vertical type prism bands. So what is required, what is the difference, and what are we looking for?
As Electric Vehicles become more prevalent, the question comes up of what to do to make them accessible and even whether or not they are required to be accessible. Although not specifically mentioned in the ADA Standards, the prevailing requirement in the implementing regulations requires a measure of access for all. So if an element is available to the able-bodied population, then it should also be available for those with a disability. Since there are no scoping and technical requirements what do you do?
Pool lifts have very specific requirements which many times have been overlooked – from the mechanism itself to the level clear floor space adjacent to the water edge. Lifts are typically required for both pools and spas, although there are other alternative means of entry into the water that are also acceptable. This requirement first became mandatory on March 15, 2012 but an extension was provided until January 31, 2013 for existing pools. What was cause for great confusion at the time was the difference between the industry language of portable lift versus fixed and the ADA requirements. Basically the ADA states that the lift has to be fixed – whether this means a portable lift that is fixed in place or a typical fixed lift – both appear to be acceptable as long as they meet the other lift requirements.
Over the years people use various terminology referring to areas where pedestrian move – circulation path, accessible route, path of travel, and accessible means of egress. But the question is, are all of these terms inter-changeable or do they have some nuance of difference in their meaning? The answer is, they do overlap each other, but there is indeed differences between each of the terms. It would be good to understand the differences since the ADA Standards has further requirements for each of these categories and limits some of what we can do within each.
Truncated domes, a form of detectable warnings, have been around for a while. It is one of those items which is not a great solution but there does not appear to be anything comparable. It is meant for people with a visual impairment to determine the boundary between a sidewalk and a street. It has been used to warn of hazards along a circulation path where there is no curb, although it can cause a problem for people with other types of disabilities and can even create a trip hazard for those who are able-bodied. Also, in new construction, there has been a trend to eliminate curbs so we have even a less of a separation between vehicles and pedestrians.
Trash enclosures are one of the items we tend not to talk about or even think about much – out of sight, out of mind, and for years it was thought no access was required. But a trash enclosure should have some measure of access – the question is how much?
Everyone complains about the increase in litigation and threat to sue that has been going on, but in reality are we as accessible as we should be? Many items are relatively easy to fix…that is if we know there is a problem. For many not planning or doing construction, they might not even realize there is an ongoing requirement on older buildings to do any fixes – Barrier Removal. And once we realize we might have a problem…well what do we do about it and which items first?
The new 2010 ADAS has caused much confusion with swimming pool access for facility people and building owners in existing facilities. Although it has been in the Guidelines since 2004 the confusion appears to stem from what is considered Readily Achievable for this specific element for places of public accommodation. The Department of Justice (DOJ) […]
© Janis Kent, Architect, FAIA, CASp 2012. Updated February, 2020 Your facility is having a special event in front of the building and you want to display merchandise with refreshments right outside the entry so everyone coming in can participate. Since this is only a one day or weekend event it’s okay to use all […]