What are ADA Ramps?
The most common questions regarding ADA ramps are: What is their purpose? What do they do? And do we really need them?
In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) introduced the need for ADA Ramps after much public lobbying and a clear, united voice from a community calling for change. For physically handicapped and visually impaired individuals, walking in public spaces can be a challenging, and even dangerous, proposition. Thus, ADA ramps were designed to ensure easy access on and off sidewalks.
ADA “code of standards” requires all new communities and public spaces to build safe street access for all members of society, regardless of disability or impairment. The code outlines the minimum standard that structures must be designed and constructed by, and as a result, many states are responding to these expectations.
Before ADA ramps were mandatory, people with wheelchairs had reason to complain about the difficulty moving freely on and off high sidewalk edges. However, without further indicators, the ADA ramps left the visually impaired unaware of the end of the sidewalk due to the continual level on to the roadway. Therefore, the ADA code of standards had to introduce additional requirements for detectable warning systems in order to properly alert visually impaired individuals of the curb end.
Using ADA ramps and detectable warning systems together ensures greater ease of mobility and safety in streets, ultimately allowing people with disabilities to be a more independent part of the community.
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