Varying Curb ADA Ramps on Pedestrian Sidewalks

ADA (American Disabilities Act) ramps such as curb ramps are critical in providing access between the walkway and the street for people who use wheelchairs.  The curbside ADA ramps are mostly found at intersections, on-street parking, loading zones, bus stops and midblock crossings.

The best curb ADA ramp that meet the needs of people with disabilities are:

  • Perpendicular – aligned perpendicular to vehicle traffic, provides straight path of travel on tight corners and is at the crossing location for all pedestrians.
  • Diagonal – requires less space because there is only one curb ramp per corner, but this is not recommended because it could lead pedestrians diagonally into the center of intersection.
  • Parallel – two parallel curb ramps that provide a level maneuvering area at the top and bottom of ramp. The ramps are adjacent to the street.
  • Combination – has a parallel ramp to lower the elevation of the landing and then uses a perpendicular ramp to bridge the remaining elevation gap between the landing and the street.
  • Built-up – ramps that project from the curb into the gutter and street. They are usually placed in the same direction as perpendicular curb ramps.
  • Depressed corners – gradually lowers the level of the sidewalk through an almost undetectable change in slope, to meet the grade of the street.

In choosing the correct ADA ramp, you must make sure that a level landing is at the top of the ramp, identify the boundary between the bottom of the ramp and the street, place the ramp within the crosswalk area, avoid sudden changes of grade, make sure the ramp can be easily seen for people with vision impairments, provide adequate drainage and make sure the ramp transitions smoothly onto the sidewalk.

Due to public access standards, you may want to add slip resistance.  There are many different avenues to consider, but a durable, long lasting and high traction option would be SLIPNOT’s all metal non-slip products in steel, stainless steel, aluminum or galvanized steel.

“Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access.” Part II of II: Best Practices Design Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2012. <>.


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