Handicapped Ramps Detectable Warning
By Bruce Woolner
Wheelchair ramps are cut into the curb in order to make the sidewalks in a community accessible to those individuals with mobility impairments. The right of all individuals to access public areas is a development of civil rights legislation.
The visually impaired could access the sidewalks using the change in elevation between the sidewalk curb and the road way to indicate the vehicular way. With the advent of curb ramps, this indication was gone. This is why the handicapped ramps had to have detectable warning systems incorporated into them. These detectable warnings replace the curb as an indication of a transition between a pedestrian and vehicular way. The truncated domes can be identified underfoot or with the end of a cane as a tactile cue. The typically dark on light or color contrast is a visual cue as many visually impaired individuals are not completely blind. The handicapped ramps must contain detectable warning systems which cover the full width of the ramp and extend two feet up from the bottom of the ramp. Extensive research has been done to come up with these specific elements in the sidewalk to accommodate the opposing requirements of the mobility and visually impaired communities.
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