The accessible pathway is the route that a voter would have to travel from the accessible parking space(s) to the accessible entrance. G.A.B. accessibility auditors only audit the accessible pathway and do not review all pathways at a visited facility. The pathway should be at least 36” wide and should not have any objects on or next to the pathway (e.g. flags, banners, tree branches, etc.) that would cause that pathway to narrow to less than 32” for a short period of time. The pathway should be on a firm, stable and slip-resistant surface such as asphalt or concrete and not have any breaks or edges where the height difference is over ½ inch.
The two facilities pictured below both have accessible pathways that meet ADA standards. Both pathways are wider than the required 36” and are made of concrete. In addition, the below left facility (figure 1) has an accessible pathway that is level with the parking area and does not require a visitor to the facility to navigate a curb cut or pathway ramp to reach the accessible entrance. Both pathways also do not have any objects on or above the pathway that would create an impediment for a voter.
Accessible pathways with large breaks or cracks in them create hazards for voters who use canes, walkers or wheelchairs. Pathways that have segments with a height difference of over ½ inch also represent a tripping hazard for all voters, especially those with mobility issues. These height differences can be caused by tree roots growing under the pathway or by damage from snow and ice during winter.
All breaks and cracks over ½ inch in size should be filled in or repaired. Pathways with significant height differences can be shaved or ground down to fix the problem. If there is extensive damage to an accessible pathway, the only remedy may be to replace the pathway or relocate that accessible parking area to a location where an acceptable pathway can be used to provide access to the accessible entrance of the facility.
(figure 5) (figure 6)