Walk down any sidewalk and you’ll find sidewalk violations. These sidewalk hazards can be caused by a variety of factors such as uneven surfaces, slippery areas, or ramps that are too steep. Sidewalk violations can pose accessibility issues for people who have mobility impairments and other disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is the law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in public accommodations and prohibits them from being excluded from the benefits of society because they’re disabled. This act states that all sidewalks must be accessible to pedestrians regardless of disability or age so long as it has been designed to serve as a safe way for everyone to get around without disruption. As sidewalk design may differ based on location, here are some guidelines:
- Ramps are required to meet slope requirements which are 1 inch of rising per 12 inches of horizontal distance. However, greater slopes can be permitted depending on sidewalk use and are generally around 1:10 (1 inch of rising for every 10 inches of horizontal sidewalk).
- If a sidewalk is at least 36 feet in width, ramps with running slope no steeper than 1:12 (1 inch of rising for every 12 inches of sidewalk) must be built. For sidewalks that range from 9 feet wide to less than 36 feet wide, sidewalk ramps must have a running slope no steeper than 1:8 (1 inch of rising for every 8 inches of the sidewalk.)
There should also be landings that measure at least 60 inches by 60 inches at the top and bottom of each ramp section.
- Curb ramps are required to be on the sidewalk side of any raised sidewalk curb or accessible pedestrian walkway. If a sidewalk has a curb more than 6 inches high, this must-have either a ramp or handrail in addition to tactile warning strips which indicate that there is the beginning of an accessible route. The tactile warning strip should be 4 feet wide with 1/2-inch-high bumps every 2 feet running parallel to the direction of travel. Tactile warning strips are not required if there are no curbs higher than 6 inches.
- A sidewalk must connect with any street-level sidewalk network it intersects with using curb ramps unless there is a marked pedestrian crosswalk in place.
- A sidewalk must be stable and free of large cracks, bumps, or other tripping hazards. If there are sidewalk areas that may pose falling hazards, they must be protected by guardrails with at least 42 inches of clearance above the sidewalk, or 24 inches if there’s no rail provided. Guardrails can also serve as handrails for people who have trouble climbing steps.
- Grates should not interfere with sidewalk travel due to gaps between grate sections being more than ½ inch wide. This includes unswept grates which have raised metal bars across the sidewalk that catch pedestrians off balance because it’s easy to get your shoe stuck.
- Grates should not be located in sidewalk corners or midpoint of intersections so pedestrians can easily avoid them. If grate locations are unavoidable, the gaps between grates must measure less than 2 inches wide at any point.
- Damaged sidewalk surfaces must be brought up to sidewalk standards within 30 days if they’ve recently been installed or sidewalk violation removal NYC. If that doesn’t happen, there may be a civil penalty in which the property owner pays for injured people’s injuries and damages caused by sidewalk violations.
These sidewalk violations can pose issues for people who have disabilities when sidewalk design varies from what is required under accessibility laws. NYC sidewalk repair services offer inspection and repair of sidewalks with compliance issues to make streets safer for all users regardless of sidewalk violations.
- People who have mobility impairments may trip or fall on uneven surfaces, ramps, or grates due to difficulty maintaining balance. This is especially concerning if the sidewalk violations are near the street level where sidewalk violation repair NYC are more difficult to be made. Ramps that are too steep can also lead to people falling which could cause injury.
- People with visual disabilities may miss sidewalk warning signs that there are sidewalk violations ahead because they can’t see them clearly from far away. Uneven surfaces and tripping hazards pose risks of collisions which could injure both pedestrians and drivers by causing motor vehicle accidents resulting in damage to cars, injuries, and fatalities.
- Grate locations on sidewalks interfere with travel for people who use wheelchairs or have trouble climbing steps since they have to go out of their way to avoid sidewalk violations.
- Higher railing heights can pose a risk for people who are unsteady on their feet, fall easily, or like others, might get their foot stuck in between the grates.
Sidewalk repair service inspections include sidewalk compliance issues that need repair work done within 30 days of inspection. If sidewalk violations aren’t fixed within that time frame there may be civil penalties assessed against property owners by NYC sidewalk inspectors which can escalate to court proceedings if necessary to make sidewalk violation repair NYC where sidewalk violations exist on sidewalks in New York City.