Americans with Disabilities Act Ramps – ADA Ramps
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) ramps are one of those necessary designs for new projects that sometimes make a new project that much more complicated to work.
These ADA ramps are meant for those who are disabled for easier access to their destination. ADA requirements are meant to help those in need and are important for those who would have trouble getting around. Design wise anything ADA related can be very tricky to work properly with every other requirement. For a Civil Engineering grading plan, we concentrate on how easy it is to walk around a project, drive around that project, and most importantly how stormwater is handled. We are given a siteplan most of the time with rough elevations that an Architect has come up with and must design to the exact existing topography to have a real world working project. We recently went back and forth on a current project with an Architect on how to handle a parking area. We came up with a 6″ curb in front of the building that would turn into a 0″ Curb Face as we transitioned the driveway slope down to street level. This design turned out to be more complicated.
As I keep walking to supermarkets and other larger box stores that have these huge slopes at random places because not enough thought was put into grading the parking lot. Not only do these parking lots look strange, but anything other than an SUV you can hear the suspension creaking on the funny grade breaks. A large part of some of these parking lots deep drops are caused by the design of ADA ramps at the parking stalls.
I took a couple of pictures while at some local stores to give an idea of how a properly designed ADA ramp looks. What I didn’t take pictures of are the very hard to drive parking lots, that are not striped with the steep grades or oddly placed speedbumps in mind. That is for another blog post.
Next time you drive around and park at your favorite store pay attention to the ADA spots as those have generally had the most design thought put into the grading plans. These spots tie the building pad elevation to the street in such a way that they can be considered a proof on how to properly design a development. You must be no more than 2% sloped in all directions in these ADA areas otherwise your building to parking lot to street connection will either not work or be very oddly warped.