A handicap/disabled access ramp with proper striping and clearance is an inviting sight to anyone who needs to reach your office building door but who can't use the steps out front. Unfortunately, a critical aspect of ramp placement is sometimes not approached that well, making ramp access difficult for those who need it. If you have a disabled access ramp, then you have to be sure everyone can actually get onto and off of the ramp easily.
Barriers to Stop Bad Parkers
One of the problems is bad parking. If the ramp leads to a parking lot surface rather than a sidewalk, there's the risk of someone parking terribly and blocking access to the ramp. You'd think you could stop this by painting a striped no-parking zone right by the entrance to the ramp, like the ones you see next to disabled parking spaces. However, the painting alone doesn't stop cars from parking right over the striped area and blocking the ramp.
If everyone parks in their spot properly, there's no problem. But if you have a wide, striped no-parking zone that's meant to allow people to get out of wheelchair vans, for example, and it is right in front of the ramp, you need to install some sort of barrier that will block cars but allow people in wheelchairs and on crutches to still reach the ramp's entrance easily.
One option could be to install a bollard, or concrete post at the lot end (not the ramp end) of the striped zone, as long as there is enough room on either side of the bollard for a wheelchair or motorized scooter to pass. The bollard wouldn't block the ramp, and it wouldn't interfere with ramps from wheelchair vans, but it would stop cars from using the no-parking zone as a temporary parking spot. Do check with your city's planning department first, however.
Dealing With the Scooter Crowd
As scooter-sharing companies have grown, so has the problem of scooters being left everywhere, including places where they block sidewalk cutouts and disabled access ramps. The good news is that people are getting better about not leaving the scooters just anywhere and instead moving them back away from access areas. The bad news, however, is that the problem isn't quite gone. You may start finding scooters left at the entrance to the ramp. You or someone else in the building (such as a maintenance crew member) will have to check the ramp repeatedly during the day if scooter littering is an issue in your area.
Most places do get ramp access issues under control; you just have to be aware of what could happen so you can take action. When you have the ramp installed, ask the seller if they have additional advice for ensuring access to the ramp.
To learn more, contact a company that provides handicap access ramps.
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