Author’s note: First, I must give you a correction on my
article entitled “Finally:
new and improved guidelines” about the new 2010 ADA regulations. The 48-inch
wide sidewalks are not required for facilities, just actual public sidewalks.
Facility sidewalks can still be 36 inches wide for the pedestrian access route.
The new Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines including the
48-inch-wide Pedestrian Access Route (PAR) are not in effect at this time. The
Access Board is awaiting comments before publishing the final PROWAG standards.
This month, I am returning to the discussion about door approaches. My last
article about doors (‘Problem
door widths,’ June 2011) focused on the actual 32-in. wide clearance width
required for passing through doorways. I tried to show the different situations
that often prevent achieving the standard and solutions.
It’s important to know the clearances required for opening doors – both for
pushing and pulling into an occupied space. All graphics below are from the 1998
ADAAG Manual for State and Local Governments, “Chapter
4.13 – Doors.”
(See the latest supplements to the Manual at http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/sl/final.pdf)
Pulling doors open
The following pictures illustrate space requirements for pulling a door open
from a straightforward approach.
Side approach clearances are based on:
1) swing of the door,
2) direction of approach (hinge or latch),
provision of closers & sometimes latches.
Usually for pulling a door open, the best approach is from the latch side.
For pushing a door, the best approach is from the hinge side as shown in the
The following graphics show what I call the “crooked back dogleg
approach.” This style is used often for restroom entrances and
some entrances into facilities. Please pay attention to the minimum widths.
I personally dislike this type of approach, since all too often the doors’
opening pressures do not meet the maximum 5 lbs. of force (see
4.13.11 Door Opening Force) requirement. I suggest that for restroom
entrances, the best solution is eliminating the doors – as long as privacy is
addressed. Alternatively, doors could be kept open and only closed at night, if
all facility doors must be locked.
I have been trapped in this style since, all too often, the pass-through
corridor does not meet the width and depth clearances as shown in the following
Pushing doors open
The following graphics show the requirements for the push-side maneuvering
According to the 1998 ADAAG Manual for State and Local Governments:
“Latch-side clearance is needed on the push side to be able to operate a
latch and maneuver through the door against the force of a closer. The minimum
required push-side space also is dependent on the approach direction.”
NOTE: An exercise for you. Sit in a chair (preferably a wheelchair) and
try to pull open the door. Notice how much side clearance you need to open the
door. Try using only your baby finger to pull open the door, to
understand the importance of the no greater than 5 lbs. push/pull pressure of
opening a door.
Next month I will address accessibility of series doors.