705 Detectable Warnings

The ADA Accessibility Guidelines; Final Rule of July 23, 2004, is silent in Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements concerning detectable warnings. The Final Rule in section 406.1 addresses curb ramps but is also silent with regards to complying with section 705 Detectable Warnings. For detectable warnings, the “safe harbor” for design and construction to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can be found in the Revised Draft Guidelines for Public Rights-of-Way of November 23, 2005. The Guidelines for Public Rights-of-Way are prepared by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board), who are responsible for writing the “safe harbor.”

In the opinion of ACCESS, the definition of a Right-of-Way is a street. A street is designed to carry vehicular traffic. Traffic flows in a lane or lanes at various speeds. The purpose of detectable warnings is to alert visually impaired individuals that they are about to step into a vehicular way and cross a vehicular way. Therefore, in the opinion of ACCESS, it does not matter if the vehicular way or street is public or private. Also, in the opinion of ACCESS, the traffic lane in a parking lot is not a vehicular way or street.

The above is civil rights law. Consultants and government agencies can render opinions on civil rights law. In the opinion of ACCESS, federal judges will look to consultants and governments for their rulings.

The above are opinions of Hank Falstad, AIA, Managing Senior Associate of Access Technologies Services, Inc. (ACCESS). See our web site for additional information: www.accessts.net.

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