Tactile paving for blind handicap on tiles pathway, walkway for blindness people with train railway
01 Dec

3 Cities Taking On ADA Compliant Curb Ramps

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets a number of standards to govern curb ramps and to determine wheelchair accessibility. Curbs create an increased likelihood of injury or accidents for people who use a wheelchair or walker. For a person with a disability, curbs without a ramp could become unusable and be considered discriminatory.

Curb ramps are required for all routes that have level changes greater than half an inch. In certain situations, an elevator or platform lift may be required for the area to be ADA compliant. When a sidewalk naturally slopes and is steeper than a 5% incline, it should come with the same precautions as a ramp.

Providing accessible public areas for individuals with disabilities is a challenge that every city must take on to remain ADA compliant. The terrain of the city can make this more difficult. 

Insider magazine highlighted 10 of the best cities in the US for wheelchair-accessible travel. Each of these cities landed on the list because of their focus on ADA compliance, wheelchair accessibility, and curb ramps. Let’s take a closer look at these cities and what makes them some of the most wheelchair accessible places in the USA.

Washington, D.C.
This crowded metropolis has subway accessibility down for individuals who use wheelchairs. All 91 Metro stations are accessible with easy, same level rolling from station platform to car, while the metro cars themselves are also outfitted with special seating for individuals with disabilities. Emergency intercoms are set apart for wheelchair users with instructions in Braille or a raised alphabet.

When it comes to the sidewalks of Washington, D.C., the city is ideal. Although the hard winters can cause cracks in the sidewalks, the city is good at maintaining the pedestrian thoroughfares. At every intersection, individuals who use wheelchairs will find that corner curbs have the ramp cut into them to allow easy transfer from the sidewalk to the street. These curb cuts give people who use wheelchairs independence in this busy and historic city.

Denver, Colorado
Here’s another city with a disability-friendly metro system that is completely accessible for wheelchairs, offering plenty of priority seating. Denver goes even farther to provide a taxi-like service specifically for individuals with disabilities that will take them anywhere within ¾ mile radius of the transportation. This service helps to make the city even more accessible for wheelchair and walker users.

As for the sidewalks, Denver created an initiative in 2015 and 2016 to install 6,000 ADA compliant curb ramps throughout all the areas that did not have these ramps. In more recent years, Denver is continuing to add more curb ramps to its city streets to continue promoting wheelchair accessibility within the city.

San Francisco, California
Although extremely hilly, San Francisco does not sacrifice wheelchair accessibility. In fact, it continues to top the lists of accessible cities in the US. All public transportation options are available to wheelchair users, and public transportation drivers are also trained in securing wheelchairs to ensure safety for all commuters.

The sidewalks of San Francisco are also accessible to people with disabilities. They can visit the Golden Gate Bridge and other famous sites without leaving their wheelchairs. Additionally, San Francisco is also moving to place a curb ramp at every intersection and pedestrian crosswalk throughout the city. Any new street improvement or repaving must also include the addition of a curb ramp.

Many of the cities within the United States are trying to keep up with the ADA and install curb ramps to their walkways, parking lots, and any other area that requires a ramp. ADA compliant curb ramps are a must for cities that want to promote independence and equality for people who use wheelchairs.