ADA Ramps

ADA Ramps, curb cuts and the Americans with Disability Act

The first curb cuts in the United States were pioneered in Berkeley, California in 1970, according to a commemorative plaque there. Curb cuts, initially designed for wheelchair users, are also used by people with baby carriages, delivery people, and people using any wheeled device. They are also used by visually impaired pedestrians, who have found that a curb cut neutralizes any warning to a hazardous vehicle way. Due to this issue of providing access to one group of the disabled while creating a harmful environment for another, the government had to specifically address curb cuts in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This issue was resolved by requiring ADA ramps by installed on all curb cuts built after 2001.

The ADA has profoundly changed how society views and accommodates its citizens with disabilities. Universal design -- the practice of designing products, buildings and public spaces and programs to be usable by the greatest number of people -- has helped create a society where ADA ramps, curb cuts, lifts on buses, and other access designs such as detectable warnings systems are increasingly common. In the process, we have discovered that an accessible society is good for everyone, not just people with disabilities.

ADA Ramps Curb Cuts
ADA Ramps Curb Cuts

The ADA has created a more inclusive climate where local government, companies, institutions, and organizations are reaching out far more often to people with disabilities. Colleges and universities, for example, now accommodate more people with disabilities than they did before ADA, even though they have been obligated by law for nearly 25 years, to have ADA ramps, curb cuts installed, making their campus and classrooms accessible.

The implementation of curb cuts, as specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act, is just one example of how the ADA have addressed a need for two separate groups of the disabled with one complete solution: ADA ramps, curb cuts combined, satisfying the needs of people confined to a wheelchair, and the visually impaired.

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