Solutions for accessible entrances and ramps

Many facilities small and large can often install a hidden ramp behind the landscape so that the historical presence is not affected in anyway. The ramps in these two pictures are between the building and the front door behind the landscaping (look for the yellow box in each image).

Many facilities small and large can often install a hidden ramp behind the landscape so that the historical presence is not affected in anyway. The ramps in these two pictures are between the building and the front door behind the landscaping (look for the yellow box in each image).

This example shows the addition of a ramp that is hidden from the street view. Even at the approach it blends in naturally and looks as though it was always there. It is perfect not only for baby strollers, but also for suitcases, deliveries, carts, etc. Remember: What is used for a home can be used in many other facility situations.

Often an entrance at the rear works well as long as the route inside meets all the accessible requirements.

This building has the ramp in front of the porch, but still within the same footprint — with the steps leading to the porch. More landscaping could easily hide the ramp. However, this picture doesn’t show if there is a built-up curb at the ground level. Always remember that you must have (1) at least a 2-inch built-up curb, (2) a rail no higher than 2 inches from the ground surface, or (3) at least a 12-inch extension beyond the handrail to prevent the front wheels of the wheelchair from slipping off the ramp.

Often with historic preservation, a ramp on the side or rear of a building works well. The aesthetics depend on the building owner’s desire to achieve either an attractive approach or a simple solution that simply provides an alternate accessible solution.

This example shows the different approaches of the two buildings. The ramp approach in this case doesn’t work since it extends into the access aisle of the accessible parking spaces (see yellow box). Had the ramp existed in the building path, the design would actually be more attractive than that of the adjoining building. (Yes there is enough space for the ramp to exist on the property while still having a level entrance approach.)

This is an example of a ramp with several problems: 1. It’s too steep to avoid the shrubbery. 2. The handrail has no bottom rail or built-up curb. 3. There is no level landing at the door. It is important to take the time to think through your solutions and not just throw in something that in itself is money wasted, an accident waiting to happen, and a lawsuit in the making.

Last but not least, there will be times when only a lift will work. But always try to avoid this solution since maintenance time and cost is greatly increased. I hope these examples have helped you get your creative juices flowing. As with all accessible design, yours can be usable and not very attractive or it can include pleasing aesthetics, safe design, and inclusive access for everyone.

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