The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turned 27 this year and has had a huge impact on not only those living with disabilities, but also their families and friends. The benefits of ADA design extend beyond those with a disability to also include the elderly, parents with strollers, or transit passengers carrying heavy luggage, among others.
How do we plan and implement infrastructure that provides safe service to all forms of pedestrian traffic?
CDG has been working with This Inclusive Life to plan routes for accessibility walks in the Twin Cities.
This Inclusive Life is a new consulting firm run by Kjensmo Walker who plans accessibility walks, holds equity trainings, and fosters leadership development.
Here are a few things we are looking for as we walk the streets of the Twin Cities.
- Are there flat landings at the top and bottom of ramped sidewalks?
- Is the surface free of bumps and slip resistant?
- Is the sidewalk 4-feet wide to allow for ease of access? Is there a 2-meter clearance height?
- Are there any hazards that stick into this 4-foot access-way?
- Is the sidewalk free of debris?
- Is the cross slope gentle enough that wheelchairs can wheel straight at ease?
- Are there tactile warnings near obstructions or drop-offs?
- Is there a curb ramp available at all crossings?
- Does the curb ramp opening lie completely within the crosswalk?
- Does the curb ramp have domes for texture?
- Are there audible crosswalks that speak the name of the street and safe crossing times?
- Is the walkway made of gravel or materials that make it difficult for wheelchairs or the visually impaired?
- Are there announcements for departure times at transit stops?
- Are informational signs available in Braille?
- Are water fountains and other amenities accessible to all?
- Are there guardrails available for large drop-offs?
Almost all people are limited at some point in their lives whether it is when they are a child, a person with a broken limb, a senior, etc. It is important that anyone who wants to use a public space is able to safely do so. Through our design efforts at CDG, we work to make sure that spaces we create are accessible by all.