General Accessibility Recommendations

General Recommendations for outside buildings/offices:

  • Adequate, appropriate, signed handicap parking.
  • Adequate outside lighting.
  • Automatic door openers at handicap entrance.
  • Paint bright yellow stripe on edges of steps to highlight stairs.
  • Use of door handles rather than doorknobs.
  • Stairs should have non-skid surface and always have railings (34-38”high)

Guidelines for inside buildings/offices:

  • Open turnaround space - 5’square/circle, 60”
  • Counter height: Between 28”-34”
  • Knee space (for desks/counters): 27”high x 30” wide x 19” deep
  • Aisle space: 36” width minimum
  • Use of door handles rather than doorknobs
  • Stairs should have non-skid surface and always have railings (34-38”high)
  • Items to be reached by wheelchair user should be no higher than 48” maximum
  • Availability of chair with arms in office areas for public use
  • Use microphones during meetings

Handicap Parking: Considerations: Location, Number of spaces, Van accessible, Signage, and Surface: The handicap parking area needs to be on as level a surface as possible. The surface should be firm and compact, preferably cement or macadam. Loose gravel, whether large or small stone, is not suitable. If there is only one handicap accessible parking spot, it should be a ‘van accessible’ one, if possible. A standard handicap parking spot is 8’wide; to be van accessible, it would need an access aisle of 8’. A universal parking space is 11’ wide; to be van accessible, it would need a 5’ access aisle. A ‘van accessible’ parking space is one that is 16’ total width: 11’wide + 5’aisle or 8’wide + 8’aisle.

Pathways: Generally speaking, a good accessible pathway is one that is level, has good drainage, a firm surface and is about 5’ in width. (The minimum width of a pathway is 3’.) Accessible pathways should be paved or compact such that a wheelchair will be able to move easily without spinning its wheels or without having difficulty in controlling its direction along the pathway. There are many acceptable pathway surfaces for accessibility needs: pressure treated wood, composite wood such as TREK, pavers, cement, a thin layer of crushed bluestone on a firm, well drained dirt surface, macadam, compacted stone dust and the like. Loose gravel whether it be large or small stone is not a good surface for an accessible pathway. Bare ground is not necessarily a good base when it has poor drainage or when tree roots are present. Grassy areas can be very uneven and bumpy and are not a good surface for wheelchairs to traverse. The pathways should not be too steep. Railings should be used in sloped areas .

November 1, 2011