In This Issue
Grates placed in the wrong direction
Protruding objects solutions
What's next?


Volume VI Number 11                 November 2011

The ADA is a Civil Rights law that requires that barriers be removed from buildings in order for the disabled community to fully utilize it.  But what do we do when there are elements that are not compliant and to replace them would be too expensive?  Here are some suggestions. 


 Grates placed the wrong direction

Along the accessible route there should not be any gaps along the path of travel for a wheelchair that are larger than 1/2" wide.  If there are then the wheelchair casters will get caught and it will be hard for the user to maneuver.  Grates are one barrier that exists if they are positioned so that the openings are placed in the same direction as the path of travel.





The video above shows how this could be a barriers.  If this occurs, one solution would be to either rotate the grates or add a corrugated metal on top of it which would still allow drainage but allow the wheels to roll over it without any maneuvering problems.




 Protruding objects solutions

Section 307 of the 2010 ADA Standards speaks about protruding objects.  These are objects that will not be able to be detected by a person who is blind usig a white cane for way finding.  A protruding object is one who is mounted higher than 27" (which i the maximum amount that a cane can detect) and it projects more than 4" onto the circulation path for the blind person.




safe zone

Existing buildings sometimes have elements like drinking fountains along the circulation path for the blind which project into the path of travel and will become hazards since the cane cannot detect it.  An example is this high drinking fountain located in the vestibule between two restrooms.  If a person is looking for a restroom and needs to use the wall to find the door, they will not detect the drinking fountain that is higher than 27" and will hit themselves with it as they walk.





A possible solution is to add a cane detectable apron below the high unit in order to bring the leading edge back down to 27" where the cane can detect it.


cane detection 






 Sometimes the protruding objects are wall mounted objects like paper towel dispensers or medical difribulators.  Below are a couple of examples of solutions for those.


defrib solution


 A wood pedestal was built before it so that it can be cane detectable


 paper towel solution


Placing a fixed waste paper basket below the protruding paper towel dspensers is a practical and inexpensive solution.


 What's next....


DOT Final Rule on Rail Station Platforms

On September 19, 2011, The US DOT published a final rule amending the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations governing the provision of facilities to achieve level boarding for mobility-impaired passengers on intercity, commuter and high-speed trains, as well as removing the operational use of the "common wheelchair" concept. The rule, effective as of October 19, 2011, applies to new and altered passenger platforms and establishes performance standards to ensure that passengers with disabilities can get on and off of any accessible car that is available. This final rule will apply to platforms constructed or altered after February 1, 2012. To read the final rule, click here: 


DOT Proposed Rule on Airline Websites and Kiosks

Also on September 19, 2011, the US DOT announced proposed regulations on airline websites and kiosks under the Air Carrier Access Act. These rules would require most foreign and domestic airlines to have accessible websites within two years of any final regulation. It would also require new kiosks purchased after enactment to meet accessibility standards. The DOT says this new proposal is part of an "ongoing effort to ensure equal access to air transportation for travelers with disabilities."  Comments must be filed by November 25, 2011.

For full text of the proposed regulations about airports click here and about kiosks click here:  


Remember that March 15, 2011 is when the new Standards became effective in the Federal level.  They will be mandatory on March 15, 2012. And each State will adopt it or not, at their discretion.


If you want to learn more about the new Standards, The ADA Companion Guide has the 2004 Guidelines with commentary and explanations throughout.


Online course by the AIA National : The ADA and Urban Regeneration (as presented in the 2011 AIA National convention)


 If you have any questions about these or any other topics, please feel free to contact me anytime.  


Marcela Abadi Rhoads, RAS #240
Abadi Accessibility
214. 403.8714