Getting There: Why ADA Compliant Sidewalks Are Crucial

ada-compliant-sidewalksMany people strongly associate ADA compliance issues with buildings. Indeed, part of the goal of ADA is to make public and private buildings, including schools, libraries, businesses, recreational facilities, and government office buildings accessible to people with disabilities. Unfortunately, unless you can arrive there safely, ADA compliant buildings will be of little help.

Enter: the humble sidewalk.

Were you aware that ADA regulations also apply to sidewalks? Elements of public rights-of-way include sidewalks, street crossings, street furnishings, and other components.

“Walking was once thought to be one of the safest means of traveling. But some say a stretch of sidewalk in Sarasota maybe changing those beliefs, and one man is fighting to get area sidewalks up to the basic ADA compliance standards . . . ‘I was trying to go around one of those street lamp posts and my handlebar clipped the rim of the lamp post and I ended crashing.  I got 2 broken ribs, I broke my glasses, and that’s probably about the 3rd time I got hurt because of the stupid lamp post.’ said Redding.” – ABC7, WWSB News, 5/14/2013

Many people with visual impairments, such as Mr. Redding, as well as those who use a wheelchair for mobility, routinely use public sidewalks in the course of their day. For these citizens, safe use of sidewalks as thoroughfares is absolutely essential. From the commute to work to running errands to recreational enjoyment, inaccessible sidewalks can mean a radically and negatively impacted quality of life.

Non ADA-compliant sidewalks can present a great risk to some citizens with disabilities. Poorly placed trash receptacles, light poles, mail boxes, or sign posts can prevent some citizens from traversing those sidewalks safely.

ADA regulations for sidewalks involve sidewalk width, surface textures, grates, slopes, and curb ramps. If you suspect that the sidewalks in your hometown are in violation of these important standards, your safety could be at risk.

Contact us to discuss how we can partner with you in advocating for safe, accessible, ADA compliant sidewalks in your hometown and beyond.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Scott Crawford of Jackson, Mississippi via Flickr user Transportation For America