# 142 III-7.

5105 August 30, 1994

J. Keith Ausbrook Counsel to the Municipal Castings Fair Trade Council Collier, Shannon, Rill & Scott 3050 K. Street, N.W., Suite 400 Washington, D.C. 20007 Dear Mr. Ausbrook: I am writing in response to your letter and as a follow up to our meeting in which you requested guidance on how the Standards for Accessible Design (Standards) issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act apply to various types of gratings used on streets and sidewalks. I apologize for our delay in responding. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that have rights or responsibilities under the Act. Pursuant to that authority, this letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a legal interpretation of the statute, and it is not binding on the Department. The Standards for Accessible Design contain specific requirements that apply to gratings that are located in walking surfaces that are part of an accessible route. These provisions also apply to walking surfaces that are located in the accessible route at cross walks or curb ramps. Section 4.5.4 of the Standards requires that these gratings shall have spaces no greater than 1/2 inch wide as measured in the direction that is parallel to the dominant direction of travel. Grates may have elongated openings as long as the longer dimension is perpendicular to the dominant direction of travel. There is no restriction on the length of elongated openings perpendicular to

the dominant direction of travel. Gratings that do not meet the requirements of the Standards may be used in any areas that are not part of an accessible route or in any area adjacent to an accessible route as long as the accessible route is at least 36" wide and provides an accessible path around the grate and meets all the requirements of an accessible route including slope and cross slope. Gratings that do not meet the requirements of the Standards may not be used within the accessible route. This requirement addresses the needs of wheelchair users as well as the needs of persons who walk with crutches, canes, and other mobility devices. The Department's Standards for Accessible Design are based on the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) as adopted by the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board), 1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20004-1111. Proposals for changes to the ADAAG should be forwarded to Mr. David Capozzi, Director of the Office of Technical and Information Services at the Access Board. The Access Board recently issued an interim final rule containing new guidelines for public rights-of-way. The Department of Justice issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on June 20, 1994, seeking comments on the Board's guidelines prior to adopting them as new Standards for State and local governments under title II. These changes may result in changes to the requirements that apply to gratings. We have enclosed a copy of the NPRM and the Access Board's interim final rule; additional copies are available to the public from the Department through calling our toll free number, 1-800-514-0301. We hope this information is helpful to you and the Municipal Castings Fair Trade Council. I look forward to working with you in the future. Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Chief Public Access Section Enclosures