ADA’s 30th Anniversary Edition

Posted on - Thursday, July 2nd, 2020
ADA’s 30th Anniversary
30 years ago July 26th 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed into law. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. This momentous occasion gave a new freedom to persons with disabilities. The freedom to work, the freedom to participate in all aspects of our society and primarily the freedom to achieve maximum personal independence!
But even though the ADA has been around for 30 years, we still have so much more to learn. This newsletter will explain a few misunderstood regulations in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and we will try and clarify them for you.
Also, since COVID-19 there are new ways that people in general are interacting with their environment and how this might affect persons with disabilities.
Parallel Parking
The ADA Standards do not specifically require that accessible spaces be perpendicular instead of parallel, but perpendicular parking spaces are preferred at facilities located on sites because most allow users to park facing in or out depending on the side that the access aisle is needed.
The parking spaces shown above are compliant per the ADA section 502.
If accessible parking spaces at facilities located on sites (as opposed to those located along public streets) are parallel, they must fully comply with all applicable requirements, including those for access aisles and for van spaces.
The images above are parallel parking that only has the access aisle in the front of the space rather than the side, so these are not compliant.
If the parallel parking is located in the public right of way, municipalities and the Department of Transportation have provided requirements. The US Access Board has written guidelines for Public Rights of Way (PROWAAG) that gives guidance on how to achieve accessible parallel parking, but this has not been adopted as law yet.
How COVID-19 protocols affect persons with disabilities
This new virus which some experts say spreads through touching surfaces, has made many people nervous to touch their environment. Public restrooms are locations where many surfaces could have the virus. So hands free operation have started to become more popular.
Hand dryers and automatic faucets are popular for hands free operation
The toilet accessories should be mounted so that they are within reach, are not protruding objects and will operate per the Standards require.
One accessory that is beginning to be used more and more are foot openers. These are attachments located at the bottom of the door which allows the door to be opened using your foot.
These are acceptable only on the pull side of the door. If they are located on the push side, they would violate the “Smooth Surface” rule
2010 ADA Standards 404.2.10 Door and Gate Surfaces. Swinging door and gate surfaces within 10 inches (255 mm) of the finish floor or ground measured vertically shall have a smooth surface on the push side extending the full width of the door or gate.
Staying safe during COVID-19 era should also take into consideration persons with disabilities.
Stay safe everyone!