Tom Koch, P.E.
|October 23, 2002|
NCDOT has reviewed the Draft Guidelines on Accessible Public Rights and
our only comment is as follows:
Section 1105.5 states that where the "rise of a ramped approach exceeds 60 inches, an elevator complying with 407, or a limited -use/limited application elevator complying with 408 shall be provided." The commentary for this proposed change states that "...Due to the exertion required in maneuvering wheelchairs upslope, lengthy ramps are often unusable and can be impractical due to the amount of right-of-way space they require. The Board is not aware of information that specifically indicates at what point a ramp is too long to be used by persons with desabilities. The advisory committee recommended that an elevation change of 60 inches be the cut-off."
This proposed requirement will impact virtually all pedestrian structures over vehicular traffic, since vertical clearances between the roadway surface and the bottom of the structure is required
to be a minimum of 16'-0" to 17'-0". It is our opinion that
providing and maintaining an elevator at each end of the structure is prohibitively costly and impractical. The elevators will be a target of vandals and during the inevitable periods when the elevator is inoperable, the structure will be completely inaccessible to the handicapped. Providing a ramp with a maximum slope of 8% (1" rise per 1 foot of length) and landings at every 4' of rise, on the other hand, will offer no difficulties to motorized wheelchairs and only minimal difficulty to standard wheelchairs. In our experience, obtaining the amount of right-of-way space necessary to install a full wheel chair ramp has not proven to be a difficulty, even in urban areas.
If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Tom Koch
index previous comment next comment