Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, with updates in 2010, many people have likely become familiar with some of the Act’s basic components. This law sets non-discrimination standards and necessary public accommodations for people with disabilities, whether those pertain to mobility, visual, hearing, or cognitive disabilities. It states that in public places and commercial facilities, no individual can be discriminated against due to disability. The Act specifies that disabled individuals need to have the same full and equal access in these locations to all goods, services, or places, as individuals without disabilities do. The now common provisions include accessible bathrooms and wheelchair ramps.
That is well and good for permanent facilities but what about for temporary events like street festivals, fairs, concerts, and trade shows? These locations involve structures that are up for only a limited time but are still subject to the ADA standards. How do organizers bring these venues and destinations into compliance for people with disabilities, enabling them to have equal access to the same amenities and areas as all other attendees? This would include for parking and transportation, information, performances and exhibits, food and drink, and use of other sections of these facilities, including restrooms. And what are the cable management products from CableOrganizer® that can help bring the many facets of temporary events into ADA compliance? Let’s explore some topics below.
The ADA requires one accessible parking space per every 25 spots. Of every six of these parking spaces, one also needs to be van accessible. These spaces should be located as closely as possible to the nearest accessible entrance. Accessible spaces must be marked with proper signage. Van accessible ones need to be marked accordingly with their own signage, and wider than a normal accessible spot, at 11 feet or 132 inches wide. These spots should also feature a level access aisle to allow easy ingress and egress. Two spots can share an aisle between them.
NAVIGATING THE EVENT
Those with wheelchairs, canes, walkers or other devices that aid in walking, will need to be able to travel through your event and access all activities and amenities. A route needs to be created that accommodates them. It is preferable that the route is the same for all attendees. The path must be smooth, as wide as reasonably allowed, and free of obstructions and hazards. It should be designed and maintained so no one is forced to use the stairs.
Accessible pathways and routes must be at least 36 inches wide and have a minimum of 80 inches in height clearance, with 78 inches in doors and doorways because of closers and door stops. If a sidewalk or walkway is less than 60 inches in width, every 200 feet it needs to be expanded to a minimum of 5 feet or 60 inches, to allow wheelchairs the ability to pass side by side.
Elevation changes greater than a quarter of an inch must have a beveled slope, and changes greater than a half-inch require a ramp, lift or elevator. Ramps should be 36 inches wide at minimum, with a one-inch vertical grade for every 12 inches of distance. In temporary applications, elevations should be no more than 30 inches high, as this would require a ramp longer than 30 feet long, which would likely be unfeasible with a temporary solution.
Protrusions and other hazards should be avoided entirely if possible, or covered in such a way that the path remains as easily navigable as possible. For cords, cables and hoses that must pass across a traveled route, for example, there are low profile covers and ADA compliant ramps that allow a shallow grade that can be easily surmounted by those in wheelchairs or using walking aids. Objects protruding from the wall should not extend more than four inches, unless they can be detected with a walking cane used by the visually impaired, in which case they need to be located 27 inches high or lower from the ground.
There must be an accessible entrance to your event, which ideally should be the same as your main entrance. If your event's entrance is elevated via steps, make sure there is a ramp or lift to facilitate accessibility. Follow the same procedures noted above to determine the grade of your ramp.
While temporary or outdoor events rarely have revolving doors, it's important to note that if they do, you'll need an accessible door nearby. Revolving doors are not approved by the ADA for accessible routes. Turnstiles are additionally not considered accessible. Should your facility have one, there needs to be an accessible route as close as possible, to make the entrance navigable for persons with disabilities.
Accessible bathrooms are a must at any event, even if you only have portable restrooms. The rules state there need to be at least one accessible restroom, for every one to six regular ones. For accessible bathrooms, the entrance must feature a 32-inch-wide minimum opening to accommodate wheelchairs and mobility aids. The floor must also have a five-foot diameter area to allow wheelchairs to turn freely — or a three-foot-wide T-shaped area to allow for three-point turns. The ADA standards require a clear floor space of minimally 60 inches in diameter or a T-shape with a 36-inch-wide approach and 60 inch wide top at or near the toilet. However, restroom design can be even greater than the standards, to allow more space and accessibility for disabled individuals. The average dimensions of these restrooms typically are 90 inches in length, 70 inches in width — and with an average depth between 86 and 88 inches. The structure is usually about 90 inches tall. Each of these units should be marked to denote their accessible status. Ideally, a portable restroom should be on a level surface. If there is a ramp, it needs to have a slope no greater than 1:12, which is 12 inches of length for every inch of rise. It needs to be 36 inches wide for wheelchairs and other assistive devices. There also needs to be a level landing of at least 60 inches on the top and bottom. The edge protection cannot be more than six inches in height, to prevent it from slipping off the ramp’s side. it should level off well before reaching the door, to facilitate a person’s ability to open a door, while maintaining their position on a sloped surface. The surface of the ramp also needs to be stable and slip resistant.
Each permanent bathroom must feature at least one accessible stall. The stall should be a minimum of 60 inches wide and extend 56 inches from the rear wall with a wall-mounted toilet (59 inches for a floor-mounted unit).
We've covered the very basics. There are many other considerations for event planning and provisions for guests with disabilities, including access to shelter and drinking water, ensuring exhibits and displays are positioned to be sufficiently visible to persons with disabilities, and checking that openings in grilles or gates along the accessible pathway are small enough to not catch on walking aids or wheels (the magic number is 1/2 inch or less). For further information, be sure to see our other article here about ADA compliance in permanent facilities.