Access Criteria for Parks + Trails

The following is the criteria for looking at accessibility in parks. The categories are not based on any access codes or technical assessments; rather, they were developed for the purpose of this website and are therefore somewhat subjective. Measurements were not taken for trail grade; we relied upon the researchers’ years of experience using ramps.

 

ACCESSIBLE VISITOR CENTER

  • Is reached by an accessible path of travel
  • Has level or ramped entry
  •  Entry door has at least 32″ clearance (typical ramp)

 

ACCESSIBLE PARKING

  • Identified by the international access symbol and has an adjoining access aisle
  • Located on a firm and stable surface
  •  Is level or on a slope not greater than 2 percent

 

ACCESSIBLE RESTROOM

  •  Accessible path of travel
  • Entry and stall doors have at least 32″ clearance
  •  Has 5′ x 5′ turnaround space
  •  Has grab bars on back wall and at least one side
  •  Has clear space for lateral transfer
  •  Toilet height is 17″-19″
  •  Roll-under sink has knee clearance at least 29″ high and 30″ wide

 

ACCESSIBLE PICNIC TABLE

  • Path of travel is firm and stable
  •  Located on a level, firm, and stable surface
  •  At least 27″ knee clearance
  •  Seating is either at end of table or on the sides

 

ACCESSIBLE FISHING PIER

  • Has level access onto the pier and at least a 32”pathway.
  • Safety regulations require that railings be 42”, which may limit views and fishing access from a seated position.

 

ACCESSIBLE PLAYGROUND

  • Has an accessible path of travel to the playground.
  • Located on a firm and stable surface as approved by the Access Board.
  • May or may not have accessible play structures.

 

TRAIL GRADE

The grade of ramps and inclines is measured by a ratio. A typical ramp is 1:12, meaning that the slope rises 1” for every 12” of length. Gentle slopes are less than or equal to 1:12, while steep slopes, by varying degrees, are greater than 1:12. We assigned each trail one of the following classifications:

  • Level
  • Gentle (1:12 or less, manual chair can negotiate)
  •  Mostly level or gentle (has at least one steep section)
  •  Steep (> 1:12, power chair and someone with good upper body strength can generally negotiate)
  •  Very steep (dangerous without assistance)

 

TERRAIN

  • Hard: Paved, boardwalk, asphalt, brick
  •  Firm: Hardened soil, decomposed granite with stabilizer
  •  Moderately firm: Gravel or dirt mix with firm underlayment. May be problematic for manual wheelchairs but not motorized wheelchairs/scooters.
  •  Soft: Wood fiber, loose gravel, loose dirt. Problematic for manual wheelchairs and possibly for motorized wheelchairs/scooters.
  •  Very Soft: Wood fiber, loose gravel, loose dirt. Problematic for manual wheelchairs and possibly for motorized wheelchairs/scooters
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