Turf grass and bus stops are not a good mix

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Question: Your article about gravel surfaces really hit home. I would like to suggest an article on how turf grass is not firm when wet, not stable when wet, and about as slip-resistant as glare ice when wet. Therefore, it simply does not qualify as a firm, stable, and slip-resistant surface, and is unsuited to being used as an alighting area at a bus stop. — John, Washington State

Answer: John, you really hit the nail on the head!

Turf grass of any thickness or quality presents the same difficulties as you mentioned in your comment. Not only in wet weather, but also in ANY weather. Grassy surfaces are uneven and jarring to the wheelchair user and others using assistive devices such as crutches and walkers and baby strollers.

Bus stops and any other pathways need to have a firm, stable, slip-resistant surface that is required by ADA regulations. Not to be overlooked are the paths and platform waiting areas for the bus arrivals. All too often, there isn’t a curb ramp or safe and stable path leading to the actual bus stop location.

For more information, check out my post, “Make public transit easier to use,” which I wrote in March 2011. Also, please review the following three images, which I hope will illustrate to you the issues. The first has no curb ramp, the second bus stop is on grass, and the third is an excellent example of a safe bus stop for everyone.

Although this bus stop has an access route, there is no curb ramp.

No access route, no curb ramp, and definitely no firm, stable, slip-resistant surface!

Although you can’t see it in the actual image, this bus stop is close to a street crossing with a curb ramp.

Demand accessible designs!

I am asking all of my readers to become advocates for accessiblity in your city, county, and state. We must design for everyone, and not just a few, because disability does not discriminate. Just last month I became involved in assisting a family whose wife/mother had recently become a quadriplegic. Think of your own family, friends, and co-workers as you proceed with decisions about safe, usable, and inclusive accessibility for all.

Best wishes to each of you trying to do your best to improve the world we use to fulfill our lives.



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About the Blogger

Michele Ohmes

thumbnail image Michele S. Ohmes is an Americans with Disabilities Act specialist and wheelchair user who works with public works departments, facility managers, and contractors. Her design manual — ADA and Accessibility: Let's Get Practical — is available on CD-ROM through the American Public Works Association's Web site. Author's note: Michele & Associates does not render legal advice and has no enforcement authority regarding the ADA or other federal disability-rights legislation.