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Delivering a first-rate transportation system for Seattle Scott Kubly, Director







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Curb Ramps

Typical Curb Ramp

Detectable Warning (Truncated Domes)

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Pedestrian Program installs curb ramps (also known as “wheelchair ramps”) at intersections to create a barrier-free environment for everyone when crossing streets that have curbs and sidewalks.

SDOT installs curb ramps following federal accessibility guidelines established by the U.S. Access Board in concordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under current standards, curb ramps are required to be wholly contained within a marked crosswalk and must include detectable warnings so that pedestrians can easily determine the boundary between the sidewalk and the street.

The standard design requirement for detectable warnings on curb ramps is known as a "truncated dome." Truncated domes are small, flattened domes that provide a surface that is distinguishable underfoot and by cane by pedestrians with visual impairments. The color of the detectable warning surface also contrasts with the surrounding pedestrian ramp to provide a visual cue for low-vision pedestrians.

As you walk around Seattle, however, you may see different styles of curb ramps. These differences reflect changes in the federal guidelines over the years as well as unique design solutions when the available public right-of-way is limited. Some older curb ramps, for example, are located outside of the crosswalk area and may not have the truncated domes. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), however, requires that municipalities and states bring any projects that involve alterations to existing ramps up to the current standards. As a result, these curb ramps will be increasingly less common over time.

What is happening now?

SDOT provides or improves curb ramps at locations where existing curb ramps and/or pedestrian crossings are altered or newly constructed. Curb ramp provisions or improvements are included as a part of projects that vary in size and in scope.

In addition, SDOT installs curb ramps as funding allows when requested by qualified individuals with disabilities at locations not otherwise scheduled for improvement.

Click here for more ADA information and to make a curb ramp request

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