T. 2-1-93 DJ 202-PL-00055 FEB 9 1993 Ms.

Melanie Brown, AIA Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates 1056 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20007 Dear Ms. Brown: This letter is in response to your inquiry regarding the requirements for detectable warnings applicable under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that are subject to the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA accessibility standards. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a legal interpretation of the application of the statute, and it is not binding on the Department. In developing the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADA Guidelines), the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) considered extensive public comment (14 public hearings and more than 10,000 pages of written comments submitted to the docket). It also considered research studies and documented field experience with detectable warnings materials. Comments submitted to the docket, available research, and the rationale for requiring the type of detectable warning surfaces specified in the guidelines are detailed on pages 35,437-38 of the preamble to the Access Board's ADA Guidelines. Copies of these pages are enclosed. Your letter states there should "be some provision for an alternative means of providing a detectable warning surface." Section 2.2 of the ADA Guidelines contains a general equivalent facilitation provision that allows departures from particular technical and scoping requirements by the use of other designs and technologies that provide substantially equivalent or greater

cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, Breen, Lusher, FOIA, Library udd:mercado:policy.letters.certif:lusher.wodatch.brown

01-01903 -2accessibility. This provision is discussed at pages 54-55 of the enclosed Title III Technical Assistance Manual. However, it is important to point out that the detectable warning surface required by the ADA Guidelines has unique characteristics that make it readily identifiable as a warning surface. For projects undertaken by State or local government, title II of the ADA allows a public entity to use either the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) or the ADA Guidelines without the elevator exemption. Both UFAS and the ADA Guidelines are enforceable standards under title II of the ADA. Furthermore, since many cities and towns also receive Federal funds in one form or another, it is possible that section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 may also be applicable. Regulations issued by most agencies under section 504 identify UFAS as the operative standard to signify compliance with new construction and alteration provisions. There are specific differences between the two standards with regard to detectable warnings. UFAS does not require any type of detectable warnings on curb ramps or other walking surfaces, whereas the ADA Guidelines, as you discussed in your letter, require a very specific pattern of raised truncated domes on curb ramps and at hazardous vehicular areas. However, when a public entity chooses to use either standard for a building, facility or project, it must follow that standard completely. Please refer to the Department's Title II Technical Assistance Manual (enclosed) to review other major differences between UFAS and ADAAG. The Access Board issued proposed accessibility guidelines for newly constructed or altered facilities covered by title II

of the ADA on December 21, 1992 (57 FR 60612). Final adoption of these guidelines by the Department of Justice will eliminate the current choice under title II between UFAS and the ADA Guidelines. In this notice, the Access Board briefly discusses the issue of detectable warnings (57 FR 60645) and announces the Access Board's intention to issue a separate notice proposing to suspend certain ADAAG provisions for detectable warnings. The public comment period for this proposed change to the guidelines will provide an excellent opportunity to address your concerns about detectable warnings and we encourage you to participate. For further information about the Access Board's efforts, please contact Mr. James J. Raggio, General Counsel, Access Board, 1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20004-1111, (202) 272-5434.

01-01904 -3I hope that you find the above information helpful. If you have further questions about the application of the Department's ADA regulations, please call our ADA Information Line on (202) 514-0301. Sincerely, John L. Wodatch Chief Public Access Section Enclosures Selected preamble pages to ADA Guidelines (pp. 35,437-38) Title II and Title III Technical Assistance Manuals

01-01905 1056 Thomas Jefferson St., NW Washington, DC 20007 202-333-2711 Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates FAX: 202-333-3159 Architecture Engineering Interior Design Research March 19, 1992 John Wodatch, Director Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act Civil Rights Division U.S. Department of Justice Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Mr. Wodatch; I am an architect at the firm of Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates in Washington, D.C. Our firm designs large mixed-use commercial projects as well as institutional, health-care and residential projects. Our expertise also includes commercial renovation and historic preservation. Much of our work is subject to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the associated Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). The ADAAG contain a requirement for detectable warnings (Ref. 4.29) which I wish to discuss. The specifications require raised truncated domes, about 1" in diameter, with a height of about 1/4", spaced approximately 2 1/2" on center. This detectable warning surface is to be installed at areas which generally occur within pedestrian walkways and sidewalks. I have received samples of materials which meet the specified criteria. Based upon these samples it is my belief that these materials pose a hazard to able-bodied pedestrians, especially those who wear heeled shoes, due to tripping or stumbling over the irregular relief surface. As an architect who practices in a litigious society, I am concerned about the ADAAG specifications for detectable warnings. It is common experience within my profession that individuals have filed lawsuits against architects claiming injury resulting from tripping on sidewalks with less textural relief than specified in the ADAAG. For this reason, I would not have recommended such a paving material to my clients. However, it is now required by the ADAAG.

01-01906 Mr. John Wodatch Page Two 19 March 1992 We find ourselves in a compromising situation: advise our clients to comply to the letter of the ADAAG and risk an injury lawsuit or not to comply and risk

civil suit? For the time-being, we have been advising our clients to pose the question to their counsel and advise us accordingly in an effort to address the issue as best as possible. I have discussed these issues with various people at both the ADA Information Line and the Architectural and Transportation Barrier Compliance Board. All agree that the detectable warnings are a potential hazard. It was their advice that you be consulted on this matter. There must be a more direct way to handle this issue. There should also be some provision for an alternate means of providing a detectable warning surface. Your response to this issue and any advice, interpretation or direction you can offer would be most appreciated. Very truly yours, BURT HILL KOSAR RITTELMANN ASSOCIATES Melanie Brown, AIA Associate